On the 10th of July 2019, my wife and i will mark 9 years of being officially married, and we are both still standing. Thank God for His intervention, because we have had many an argument over the years on both the little things and the major things. As i reflect on these 9 years, i just wonder why as the leader of the home i felt i needed to win every argument. Did i really need to and when i did, did i lose something in the relationship ultimately.
The reason why i know i wanted to ALWAYS win was about Pride. I didn’t want to be seen as weak or to have failed in certain situations. It was really not necessary for me to win every argument, and more importantly, i didn’t have the Wisdom from the word of God that teaches Men and women how to conduct themselves with their spouses, children and with all relationships outside the home. When ones priorities are skewed, or your value system is off sync then you can focus on the wrong things and that can make you waste a great deal of time trying to prove a point or standing your ground on a useless and baseless issue which can ultimately harm your marriage and affect your children and life.
I also noticed that when we make plans with my wife to achieve certain goals, fighting slows us down. With certain fights we start losing ground and on our goals and ultimately we lose the race. Focusing on God and His Kingdom makes us see things differently. Now we look at our lives very much like that, like there are things for us to do and we are here to seek Gods kingdom. We are here to make disciples and touch peoples lives positively. And if we spend our time just fighting with each other, it is going to keep us from Gods mission and harm the way our children view relationships. So one of the ways we can fight is always realizing, ok, divorce isn’t an option and also we don’t have a lot of time to argue about petty things, because we are dealing with eternal things and so we keep that in our minds.
Have you ever felt like you know you’re right, but the other person doesn’t understand? Or maybe every once in awhile you just have to have something go your way? For some people, the feeling of urgency nudges them into using some of these tactics:
- speaking more loudly
- bringing up evidence
- speaking with a tone of urgency
- refusing to let the topic drop
- following the other person from room to room
These strategies create problems, though. A raised voice can sound like an attack. Evidence provides an opportunity to get sidetracked by debating the evidence. Urgency often comes across as impatience or frustration.
Occasionally an apology is an admission of complete responsibility, and in those cases a heartfelt expression of regret becomes all the more important: “You’re right, I didn’t get it done on time. I’ll do everything I can to make sure it doesn’t happen again.” Apologies change the game from “It’s Not My Fault” to “I Understand.” Apologies are powerful; they have prevented lawsuits, improved business communication, and healed personal rifts.
Of course, sidestepping an argument is only the first step in sorting through an emotionally charged issue. Sometimes you have to dig beneath the surface so that you can talk about the beliefs and feelings underneath. Then there’s work to be done in negotiating a compromise or coming to an agreement. However, arguments keep you spinning in circles, and usually make the problem worse.
Sometimes the only way not to lose is to stop playing the game. Instead of, “One of Us Has to Win,” you can play, “Let’s Take Some Time with This.” With a simple statement, you can buy time, show willingness to compromise, offer empathy, or own part of the problem. These strategies are the basis of good communication. When the object of the game is to stop arguing, both players can win.
1 Peter 3 comes to mind where it tells us: Husbands, live with their wives in this understanding way, to treat her as a fellow heir of the grace of life so that our prayers may not be hindered. Okay, if I don’t do this right, God is not going to listen to my prayers. And I have got to have him hear my prayers. That is the most important thing in my life. And so I need to treat her as a daughter of God. I need to honor her as we speak and, again, I mean, the biggest word I could say is humility. I mean, that is what causes all of this, right? A lack of humility.
The goal is not winning an argument. It is pleasing Christ, becoming like Christ and most of the time the person who “wins the argument” is usually the one acts least like Jesus. And so we keep that in mind that God opposes the proud. And so I could win this argument in a sense, but if I do it in arrogance, now, suddenly, I have got God opposing me. So what did I win? I am a loser at that point, so it is like: Ok, humble myself. Treat her like God’s daughter and remember that we have got things to do for the kingdom. We cannot waste our time arguing about things that are not eternal. So let me humble myself. If it is not a big deal, then just let it go. Let her have her way. There is more important things to focus on.
Will Frank – @ariseinchrist