When it comes to marriage, both arguing and not arguing can be very destructive. You might argue a lot and have a great marriage. You might never argue and have a terrible one. And vice-versa. Arguing is more of an art than a science. Now this list is for 3 types of couples. And I think a large majority of marriages fall into one of these three types (whether both spouses realize it or not).
1) You Argue All the Time
2) You Only Argue Occasionally But There Are Huge Blow-ups
3) You Rarely Argue Because One Or Both of You Are Afraid of What Arguing Will Do To Your Marriage.
Well have no fear. Arguing “can” be a great effective way to communicate. A problem or issue has occurred, and not saying anything will not solve it. So how can you as a couple effectively argue without hurting your marriage. Here are the rules for Allotta arguing.
Don’t Cut Each Other Off
When we get interrupted we get madder… Let the other person say everything they want to say, then hopefully they will let you say everything you want to say. If everyone says everything they want to say, well then, there’s nothing else to say. You still might not agree with each other, but arguments are a lot shorter when you feel like you’ve been heard.
Don’t Name-call or Exaggerate
When you call someone an insensitive jerk or that they’re stupid or that they ALWAYS or NEVER do something, all you’re doing is fueling the argument and you will never actually deal with the problem. There is a difference between calling someone a “LIAR!” and sharing with them that you have felt lied to. There is a difference between saying you never think about what I want, and saying today I can’t help but feel like you didn’t consider my thoughts and feelings.
Don’t Just Get LOUDER!
Raising your voice, throwing things, or physically displaying your anger does nothing but mute the words you’re saying. This is a tough one, especially if the other person is getting louder and angrier, but if you really want to be heard – speak softer. It makes the other person have to listen more carefully to actually hear you. It usually calms the whole situation down as well.
Don’t Bring Up Past Issues
There will be some problems that just don’t get solved or don’t get solved quickly. But if you bring up past issues you will not actually be dealing with the present issue. Only argue about ONE thing at a time. Most of the times, the huge “blow-ups” are because one or both spouses bring up the unsolvable issues. When the argument ends, and you forget what you were even arguing about, you probably fell into this trap. Do not bring up past issues, and don’t take the bait if your partner does. Simply say that you want to stay on topic, we’ll deal with that tomorrow.
Don’t Involve Other People
It’s not that you don’t seek advice, but if people are nearby when you’re arguing don’t put them in the middle of your argument. It belittles everyone involved and there will be more hurt feelings. It also will create “allies” and “enemies” within your friends and family. Often times there is such family tension because the only time you talk to your mom and dad is to vent about how horrible your spouse is. Of course there’s tension when the in-law’s stop by, you are destroying their little boy or little girls dreams. We rarely call our families to share the nice sweet thing our spouse did the next day after the argument. Vent to a friend (of the same sex), not family.
Don’t Try to Win an Argument
Arguments are about understanding one another’s viewpoints. It cannot be about who’s right and who’s wrong, the argument must be about understanding how the other feels about the issue at hand. The only way to “win” is if both people understand the other. The argument is not over when one is declared right and the other, um, less right. The argument is over when I understand where you are coming from, and you understand where I am coming from. For you competitive people, you can win the argument by being the first one to ask a question about how that made the other person feel.
If All Else Fails… Get Some FroYo
I’ve never seen a man, woman, or child upset while eating frozen yogurt. It is God’s gift to mankind to cease hostility and anger. Go eat some ice cream and talk about your problem there if you still want to. It’s public so you’ll be less prone to break the Rules for Allotta arguing, and your body will be experiencing euphoria with that delicious icecream coursing through your body.
Listen, this list seems easy when you’re not upset. The real test will be when you are your angriest and most frustrated and your spouse is breaking every rule on the list. Can you keep the rules if they are breaking them? That’s the true test. These rules do work in other settings like with your children and at work. But generally, your kids just ignore you and play video games when they’re teenagers, so you have that to look forward to, and if you argue that much at work, eventually one of you is going to find a new job. (Paste these Rules up in every room in the house if you work with your spouse.) I care about helping to save marriages. I want more pastors and churches and friends invested in the marriages of those in their lives. We’re a better society when kids have both their mom and dad under the same roof.
Any other rules that have helped your marriage that you’d like to share? Just pop them in the comment section below.