If you’re married, then you have argued with your spouse. Guaranteed. Nobody agrees on everything, even if it’s little things like where to eat out for dinner! In some ways that’s the beauty of our diversity and uniqueness.
So, say you’re having a “spat” with your husband. How do you handle it? Do you whine, yell, throw things, and stomp your feet until he gives in to your side of the argument? Even if that’s the case and that’s what happens, I’ve found that no one is a winner if that is the end result. Instead, I’ve come up with a few ways to argue with your spouse… ways that hopefully end up with a productive result instead of one that leaves bitter feelings and resentment thus damaging (or denting) your marriage relationship.
- Try to speak calmly.
This is hard to do when you’re passionate about a subject. But you can still elevate your voice somewhat without yelling. And, if you can control your voice enough to speak as evenly as possible then sometimes that helps you collect your thoughts and not speak without thinking. Speaking without thinking is always harmful!
- Don’t bring up past issues if they’ve already been discussed.
Baggage. Face it. We all have it. We’ve all screwed up and made colossal mistakes. We don’t need to be reminded of it again and again. Now, I don’t think bringing up past things is wrong if the subject matter is along the same lines of whatever the argument is about AND if it hasn’t already been discussed. If you’ve already brought it up and both of you have clearly shared your feelings about the subject, bringing it up again to simply make a point or add weight to your case is unkind. Ultimately the goal should be that you and your husband grow closer not further apart. Hidden motives will never accomplish that goal.
- Don’t demean your man.
I hate this. I’ve seen women demean their husbands in public and I can only imagine if someone is willing to make a statement that belittles their spouse in public – just what do they say behind closed doors? No – don’t demean your husband no matter how mad you are at him. Find some way to show him some decency and respect and have a little class when you argue your case with him.
- Take time (if possible) before or during your argument.
Let’s face it – some arguments are planned. We know we’re picking a fight. You will do yourself a huge service if you can allow time to go by so you can collect your thoughts and gather your words before you enter into a heated discussion with your mate. If the argument rose up quickly, sometimes a breather or break is needed. Ask your husband for a little time to collect yourself so you don’t say something you will regret then come back together after a ½ hr or even 2 or 3 hours if they are so needed. The break may be just the thing you needed.
- Stay on topic.
I’ve had trouble with this. You bring up everything under the sun and other issues that don’t even really matter or relate to what it is you are arguing about! They may have credence but now is not the time to bring them up. Stay focused on the subject on hand and on solving that issue first. You’ll find your time will be much more productive that way.
- Try to “re-connect” as quickly as possible.
I hate it when my husband and I aren’t “in-sync.” We don’t communicate well, we feel far away from one another and in general our household and marriage just don’t seem to run smoothly. So especially after an argument, try to find ways to get on the same page together again as soon as possible. Even if you agree to disagree you can still reassure one another of your love, devotion, and commitment to the marriage.
I think the healthiest thing to remember when having heated disagreements or arguments in marriage, is that the goal is to move forward together. If you can do that, then you both win and you’ll be stronger and learn from whatever it was that caused dissension in the first place. Be intentional and sometimes, if necessary, swallow your pride. After all, marriage IS about two people – not just you!