Arguments happen because more than one person is sure they’ve got it right. The right understanding of a situation. The right way to think. The right way to deal with a challenge. And the right to be heard so we can set things right.
In our relationship with our sweetheart, being right isn’t as helpful as we’d like it to be. After all, do we really want to live with a loser? If we win the argument by getting our beloved to acquiesce, we’re ignoring a bigger problem for the sake of feeling good and at the expense of making our beloved feel bad. We both come out losers.
What’s really important? That’s the question to ask during any conflict. Beyond how we feel in the heat of the disagreement, what’s the most important goal to accomplish?
What’s the danger if we let go of the attempt to win the argument? Probably not much but hurt pride. The perceived disadvantages of losing to our beloved’s point of view are rarely as bad as our feelings tell us they are.
What’s the danger of continuing the argument until we win? Division, certainly, and a high likelihood that something more important will get neglected. Being right can distract us from focusing on what’s really important.
Quitting an argument doesn’t mean we lose the battle. It means we recognize that there’s something more important at stake. Embracing this makes both of use winners. And in that state of mind, we find compromises that please both of us. We build strategies to address the concerns of both. We turn a temporary division into stronger unity.
- Recalling our last argument, what was the most important issue underlying it?
- What am I most concerned about as I think about that issue?
Strengthen your relationship:
Write a love letter to each other, describing the underlying, important issue that you identified during reflection. What motivated you to care so much that you wanted to be heard and believed? Why is it important now? What do you fear is at stake if it’s not dealt with rightly? After exchanging the letters, before problem-solving, tell each other how much you appreciate what was shared, and why. Then pray together to increase in understanding of each other.
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© 2018 by Terry Modica of Good News Ministries