Disagreements in marriage are a good thing. That is, if we make them productive.
Disagreements are an opportunity for new discernment, new discoveries, new growth and even new intimacy.
When we see them as opportunities rather than as division, our sweetheart is no longer an enemy but a partner, a companion in the adventure of marriage.
The temptation is to forget this and try to persuade our beloved that s/he’s wrong. When this fails, we make our argument louder and sharper, aiming for our sweetheart to say, “I was wrong, you’re right, and I will change my mind.” This strategy, however, is usually impossible. At best, it makes our sweetheart feel like a wounded loser who succumbs for the sake of regaining peace.
It’s far more effective and productive to help him/her make a new decision, based on a mutual exploration of alternatives, to create a new story together. A good starting point is to ask, “Honey, what are you trying to accomplish?” Such exploration involves realizing that we ourselves also have something new to learn.
This strategy, when the Holy Spirit is invited into the discussion, produces outcomes that neither you nor your beloved had imagined before the disagreement came to light. And in the process, the two of you grow in intimacy as allies.
- Think of an unresolved disagreement. What do you hope to accomplish in proving your point?
- And what might your sweetheart be hoping to accomplish? Why is winning the argument so important to him/her?
Strengthen your relationship:
Name a recent disagreement, pray together to invite the Holy Spirit’s inspirations, and then answer this: What new or unexpected developments might God be leading you toward?
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© 2017 by Terry Modica of Good News Ministries