Friday, March 6, 2009
Disagreement – Learn to Disagree Without Being Disagreeable
Disagreement is innate in every marriage and thus far; a common cause of dysfunctional marriage. Though marital disagreements at times are an essential part of a healthy relationship, however couples should make a consented effort to keep the “rules of engagement” in effect, lest lose the marriage. Whenever argument arises, always remember this thing: Learn to disagree without being disagreeable.
Agree To Disagree
All married couples disagree at one time or another. Remember this rule for fighting fair: Feelings are neither right nor wrong, they merely are. (Marriage Encounter Principle) Accept your spouse’s feelings even if you don’t share them. Arguing about who’s right usually leads to resentment. "You may be right" is a handy phrase in which the speaker doesn't admit to being wrong, but allows that your spouse has a valid position. Sometimes that's enough to break a deadlock.
Good Argument Is Like Dancing
In an argument, we lead and follow. It’s like a dance in which we have to be sensitive to the signals of the other and balance our own needs with those of our spouse. Are you more of a leader or a follower? A good argument can be a labor of love. Have something sensitive or difficult to talk about with your spouse? Try holding hands and maintaining direct eye contact when you are having a discussion about a disagreement.
When you and your spouse disagree about something, try changing places -- figuratively. Take your spouse’s position to see how it feels from another point of view. You don't have to agree, but it helps your spouse to know you understand. It may reduce repeating and shouting. Share your own feelings without bitterness. It takes attentiveness to notice when your spouse is hurting. What looks like anger might be fear or hurt.
The Magic Words
“I guess you were right.” Although marriage is not a competition, still this phrase is one of the sweetest things a spouse can say. It may come after a disagreement in which both partners were sure they were right. It doesn’t fix the mistake but it’s so much better than “I told you so!” Is there something your spouse was “right” about recently?
Lastly, don't argue with anyone today -- even if you're right. And if someone has to win an argument, let it be your spouse. Even if you disagree, don't make your spouse wrong. You don't have to win every argument, lest you lose the marriage.