Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Arguing is Good for Marriage

Like to argue? Who doesn't? Actually, a number of people hate it. An article in the Idaho Press-Tribune proposes that arguing is not only a part of marriage, but it is beneficial to marriage.

Personally, I think there is a better way to state it. Most people view the word "arguing" as negative. Arguing implies that things have gone ugly - someone has lost control or moved beyond reason in their attitude or tone. It seems better to say that 'debate' is good for marriage. Not only is debate good, it is essential to a healthy marriage. Healthy debate helps you resolve differences and develop a set of shared common values. Couples that avoid debate are short-circuiting the maturation of their relationship and the "oneness" God intends in marriage.

The article offers these helpful guidelines for fighting fair:

There are many rules to the concept of marital conflict. For instance, don’t bring up the past, don’t belittle or shame the other person, keep it between you two and don’t bring in reinforcements, take one issue at a time, and stay with it until you feel you have heard one another.

Well said. Too many couples try to bring up every little issue in the world when 'debating' a difference. Stick to one issue and solve it, then move on to others.

The article closes with this advice:

Always remember that this is the person you have announced you love! Treat them tenderly even in the midst of conflict, and remember you will always have conflict, and much of it will be over the same issues.

Reminds me of a phrase we heard at a FamilyLife conference (shameless plug) in our first month of marriage: "Your mate is not your enemy." Remember that you are on the same team - you are not enemies.

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