When a man and a woman take their marriage vows, committing to be with one another until death, the farthest thing from their minds is all the moments in between, when husbands and wives don’t see eye to eye. It’s no surprise that when two sinful people come together, there are going to be arguments and disagreements.
Further, the Bible speaks to the hope found in Jesus our reconciler: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). He made the way for two people to work through these times of conflict, giving us the ultimate sacrifice of love that we may be forgiven and forgive one another.
1. Replace “you” with “I” as much as possible. When you find yourselves in the middle of an argument, do your best to express yourself using the word “I” instead of the word “you.” When practiced regularly this can help defuse and even end an argument. “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Prov. 15:1). Would you rather your spouse say, “You are always late, and I’m just tired of it”? Or would you rather hear, “I am disappointed that we are always late. It would mean a lot if we could get to places on time”? The second one is way better, right? Think about how you could apply this idea to the last argument you had with your spouse.
2. Take a time out. I have to say, this one can be hard in the heat of an argument. Often, it can be in our nature to want to get in the last word.
3. Resolutions and Moving Forward. “Get rid of all bitterness, passion, and anger. No more shouting or insults, no more hateful feelings of any sort. Instead, be kind and tender-hearted to one another, and forgive one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ” (Eph. 4:31–32 GNT). Whether or not the conversation was heated enough to need a time out, making room for resolution is essential. Resolution does not always mean you agree on everything every time. In fact, it’s okay to have some areas where you agree to disagree. If this is an area of your life that needs agreement, though, allow each other to name one or two thoughts/behaviors that you genuinely can’t compromise on and say those to each other (or if still too upset, you can write them out). Then, have the other one name one or two thoughts/behaviors they can compromise on. For example, “I cannot be late to Sunday school another Sunday, so I will commit to waking up earlier and take on additional tasks to help us get out the door on time.” The goal is not to necessarily avoid conflict, but to avoid hurtful emotional outbreaks that, when repeated over time, damage a marriage.
Arguments and disagreements will come. Emotions between spouses are healthy and good. It’s the managing of our negative emotions that takes effort and intentionality. But don’t ever lose sight of the fact that it’s worth every bit of energy we put into it.
3 Ways To Supercharge Making Your Marriage A Priority found here.
Husbands And Wives: Make Sure THIS Is On Your calendar found here.
How To Really Listen To Your Spouse found here.
Three Ways To Healthily Manage Arguments was originally published on Well Watered Women found here.