I guest posted over at A Worker At Home last week. Since this weekend was all about loving on my little family (we’re all sick), I didn’t have time to write this weekend. So I’m re-posting. Forgive me. :)
Getting married is AWESOME. You have a completely legitimate reason to hang out with your bestie all the time. You get to have sleepovers every night. When your feet are cold, your hubbies legs are warm. When your son pees on you for the first time because you weren’t quick enough with the diaper, your hubs is there to take over and laugh until he cries while you run to the sink. Ah yes, marriage is awesome.
However, realizing that disagreements cannot be avoided within a marriage is not awesome.
I do not remember arguing with my husband before we were married. We were absolutely ga-ga over each other. He was perfect and I was perfect. Cue the music.
Reality was not long in coming after our wedding. I was shocked to realize that my sweet husband had….OPINIONS! Opinions that were sometimes more right than mine and opinions that were always valid. But, since he did not always express them well and sometimes he hurt my feelings in the process, I would have none of that.
I did not appreciate the fact that my husband thought differently than I did. I was harsh, quick-tongued, and rash. I was not a wife after God’s heart.
We knew our disagreements were hurting our marriage. So, after six months, we started actively working on our disagreement techniques. We would talk about how an argument went, after the heat was gone and the issue was settled. Each time, we got a little better at understanding each other and ourselves.
In our private married life we have probably spent the largest portion of our time figuring out how to treat each other with love and respect, no matter what the circumstance. This has had huge payoffs.
We love God more. We love each other more. Our arguments are MUCH shorter. Our “arguments” aren’t really arguments. I don’t feel icky afterwards. I feel good about loving and respecting my husband.
Since following these guidelines has changed my marriage into a more safe and peaceful place to be, I thought I’d share them with you. Since I am a wife, I am writing this from a wife’s perspective.
(Note: Although this is a list to help you argue “effectively,” that does not mean you will win more arguments. It has nothing to do with that and everything to do with making your marriage a better, more “effective” machine that glorifies God.)
8 Ways to Argue Effectively With Your Husband
1. Speak goodness to your husband. Do not tear him down, no matter how easy or effective (you think!) it would be. I guarantee you, even if you get what you want quicker, you will have caused wounds in his heart that will affect your marriage later. It’s messy. Ephesians 5:22-24 tells us, “Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands” (The Message). Submission and respect are SO important, friends.
2. Give him respect before reproach. Acknowledge the fact that he is a good husband and a good man – because he is. Being in a disagreement does not change that. Let him know you think that. You don’t need to do this in the heat of the moment, if you don’t feel like you can control yourself set up a time to talk about the issue.
3. Do not raise your voice…I know as soon as I let my emotions start to control my tone, things spiral out of control quickly. It is so easy to think that your husband is the “bad guy” when arguing. He’s not! Remember that Satan is the enemy, not your spouse. There are times when you won’t be able to control yourself, talking about how to deal with that ahead of times will be extremely beneficial.
4. Do not use “You” phrases, such as, “You are ruining everything!” or “You always do this!” Using those types of phrases does not communicate love – it communicates blame.
5. Do use “I” phrases, such as, “I feel that…”, “It hurts my feelings when you….such and such.” This explains the issue to your spouse in a way that is easy to understand and respectful.
6. Be gracious, always. Always, always, always. This has been the thing that has helped Connor and I the most. You are both going to make mistakes. Acknowledge a mistake in your head (you do not always need to point it out) and move on.
7. Forgive him, before he asks (and if he doesn’t). This will do so much good to your marriage. The longer I hold on to things, the more bitter I get; the more bitter I get, the more potent that bitterness becomes.
8. Pray over the way you treat each other. Pray both when you are angry with each other and when you are lovey-dovey. Pray that God will open your eyes to what your husband needs (emotionally and physically, happy and mad) and that he would give you strength and wisdom to follow through with those things. Pray that God will give you the measure of self-control you need to always treat your husband with the respect he deserves.
Do you have any advice for disagreements? What has/ hasn’t worked for you?