Married couples fight. The real question is how well do you argue? Not, can you win the argument but rather how well do the two of you resolve your arguments? This is a common question and often a problem area for many couples. So here are some tips:
The following are some general guidelines to keep in mind:
- You are a sinner.
- This means that you bring assumptions and viewpoints into the conflict.
- This means that you struggle to see things clearly. (Read 1 Corinthians 13:12)
- You married a sinner.
- They bring the same things above to the conflict.
- Try to empathetic.
- This means making an attempt to understand the other’s person’s view. This does not mean that you will agree with that view but understand what they are saying and why without judging whether it’s right or wrong.
- Be willing to confess your own wrong doings without excuses and without blaming your spouse.
- Focus on the here and now. Realize that the past may impact your assumptions but those assumptions are not based on the present.
- Eliminate the following phrases:
- “You never…”
- “You always…”
- “I can’t…” (instead you “I won’t” so that you are taking responsibility for your choice
- “I’ll try…” (this usually means that you are giving yourself an out and often involves a half-hearted commitment to doing something)
- “You should…” or “You shouldn’t…” (these are commands to change someone else and are often see as more of a parent-to-child type of statement)
- Use “I” statements as much as possible.
- Remember that the goal is resolution and a better understanding of each other. As a married couple you are working on your oneness.
- Value each other. (Read Proverbs 11:12)
- Clarify each other’s statements as much as possible to make sure you hear your spouse correctly.
Ground Rules to Discuss and Agree Upon Ahead of Time:
- How will we each deal with a need to stop an argument for addition time and space to regain self-control?
- How will we deal with an argument that needs to be put off to a later time due to time constraint? (For example, we need to leave to be someplace on time.)
- How will we deal with an argument that needs to be put off to a later time due to being in public?
- How will we deal with an argument when others are present? (For example, the kids are in the room. Will we ask the kids to leave the room or put the argument off to a later time?)