How do you stop arguments in your marriage?
Arguments with your spouse are the worst.
Early in my marriage, when my husband and I would argue, we’d both feel awful for hours afterwards. We both just wanted to get along, and to do what was best for the family, so how did this keep happening if we loved each other so much?
Sometimes, we’d even get so frustrated we started to forget why we got married in the first place.
Fortunately, with the help of some amazing advice and role models, my husband and I have discovered the secret to stopping arguments.
The secret is to recognize your differences for what they really are: strengths.
Maybe one of you wants to spend more money, and the other doesn’t think it’s necessary. Maybe one of you thinks you should discipline the kids more strictly, while the other thinks they should be encouraged to express themselves. You both want what’s best for the family, but you disagree about what that is.
But that’s the secret. You disagree because you can each see different parts of the situation.
I find that in most cases where two people disagree, they’re both half right. Perhaps your wife has a point about how spending that money would drastically enrich the family’s life right now, or you have a point that it could be used for something even better later on.
Perhaps your wife has a point that the kids will be stronger later in life if they learn self-discipline now, but you also have a point that the kids will be stronger if they are taught to trust their own judgement and voice their opinions.
The key in any argument is to get to the bottom of the pros and cons. When you understand what you are really concerned about – the long-term effects of a decision, the delicate pros and cons of raising children – you can often find a way that satisfies both your desires, in a way that’s much better than what would have been accomplished if just one of you “won” the argument.
Perhaps you can agree on a budget which makes sure you spend some money on enriching activities now – and put away another, agreed-upon portion of money to do even better things later.
Perhaps you can agree on a talk with the kids which provides a method for them to practice self-discipline – and a method for them to practice arguing their points and learn to build a strong logical case negotiating for what they think is best.
The key is not to let it become a matter of ego. It’s not about “who’s right and who’s wrong.” It’s about “what part of the best possible solution are each of us seeing?
So next time you and your spouse are approaching an argument, ask yourself: what are each of us really arguing for here? What is the long-term good we are arguing in favor of?
Then ask: how can we craft a solution that addresses both concerns, so we can have the best of both worlds?
If you’re finding this a little hard to do, you can download this worksheet and try using it when you have a talk.
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