Talking with a wife recently she shyly commented, “Don’t you think we can Agree to Disagree”? I said, “Glad you ask”! My husband Phil says, “if two people always agree one of them is not necessary”. Promising to send information to her on this subject, I got the idea to pull out my Journal and use some notes on “Working Our Way Through Disagreement”. We all could use this as a reminder to keep our marriage sweet!
Sometimes marital battles will happen and keeping your cool seems nearly impossible. Disagreements WILL happen. There is a way to have a healthy discussion concerning an issue. Resolutions can be accomplished with out one or the other walking away feeling “run over”, “put down” or “just plain NOT HEARD”. Couples can have civil discussions reaching the goal of resolving an issue. When you don’t agree, try these steps and reach out with the gift of Grace.
1. Count to ten before you open your mouth. Think about what you are about to say. Think…, “What effect will my words have?”
2. When expressing your point of view use, “I feel…,”I believe…,” or “I think…” Avoid “you” messages. ” You” messages sound accusatory and may put the other person on the defensive. If you are asking the other person to change his/her behavior, describe the behavior you would like to see changed and indicate how their present behavior causes you to feel. An example: “I feel angry/hurt when you don’t consider my opinions. It makes me think you don’t respect my feelings.”
3. Avoid saying “never” or “always”. These words bring up the past and elevate emotion. Instead, focus on the immediate problem.
4. Confront wisely and in love. Don’t confront in front of others—-even when it’s difficult to keep silent. Good instructions are found in Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearer.
5. Love and forbear. Remember that your spouse has faults and so do you. But you married each other. Forgive and then move on. Extend to your spouse the unconditional forgiveness that God extends to you.
What better place can two people practice Christian Principles? In the marriage relationship you have the best place to “life out” God’s plan. The result is Peace and Harmony. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all used these in our life and marriage?