…How to solve disagreements without arguing
I bet everyone wishes they knew the answer to this one. The author first points out that conflicts are absolutely normal. It doesn’t happen because you’re married to the wrong person….it happens because you’re human. We tend to believe that our ideas/logic/reasoning makes the most sense. But we often fail to realize that our spouse has the exact same opinion regarding his/her ideas. “Their logic will not agree with your logic and their emotions will not mirror your own. Our ideas and perceptions of life are influenced by our history, our values, and our personality.” Somehow when we encounter this…it leads from frustration and irritation to out right blow outs. Conflicts can ruin your day, week, month, year and marriage. Or, it can help you discover how to better love, nurture and encourage one another. I know which I’d rather have happen.
The arguments in our first year were pretty textbook….I was taken aback by how sometimes Skywalker didn’t understand me at all. And he would be driven mad by how illogical my thinking seemed to be. So we’d hammer back and forth trying to get our point across. In the middle of one of these blowouts, he listed all the things I did that made us argue. I was shocked! And then burst out laughing….because everything on his list was EXACTLY the same as what I would’ve said about him. It was a breakthrough for us that day…
It boils down to listening and understanding. Are you listening to understand the heart of what the other is saying? Or are you merely listening to refute so that you can prove your point right? Understandably it’s hard to be a good listener in conflict but that really is the key to NOT having an arguement. It takes laying aside your prideful thoughts that you’ve got the best way figured all out already…and to recognize that there are multiple (and equally valid) ways to look at something, not just your idea!
The author had a good suggestion that I’m going to try next time there is a “conflict” to address. Instead of saying “Honey we need to talk”…which immediately raises our defensive guards…try “Honey, I want to listen.” Then instead of sharing first what you wanted to address, ask the other person for their viewpoint on [insert potential conflict item] and just listen. Ask clarifying questions. Really try to understand why that view is significant to them. Maybe that’s enough to clarify the conflict you thought you had. But if not, then you share next as the other listens. Once both sides have a good understanding of the whole issue, there’s basically three things that can happen:
- “Meet on their side” is to agree and comply with the other person fully. You do this out of love and respect in laying aside what you want. You do not hold this as an item to be resentful over later.
- “Meet in the middle” is like a compromise. But it’s not so much that you have to “give in” to a mediocre solution, rather it’s discovering the best solution for both individuals.
- “Meet later” is agreeing to disagree without lost of love or acceptance of each other and maybe deciding on a later date to re-visit the issue. It could be that in a week or a month the issue isn’t even an issue anymore.
I honestly don’t think we argued that much in our first year…for which I’m thankful. Looking forward to even greater understanding of each other this coming year!