In my MRT group this past week, on of the men in had to share something he dislikes doing but must do anyway. What he put down was arguing with his wife. When I asked him to explain that he told me that he has to argue with her because then they can make up and say “I love you.” Many of the other men in the group were agreeing with him or acting as though he had revealed some great secret.
It’s a little scary that so many people think this. Making up is a way to show that you care, but you shouldn’t be doing things regularly that require you to make up. And if you love someone you should feel comfortable enough to share your opinion and disagree, but there is a difference between arguing and disagreeing.
To disagree makes to not agree. No one is going to agree with someone at all times. Sometimes disagreements get heated and we start arguing. We’re human, but we need to learn how to disagree in a way that is still respectful.
I don’t tend to have the problem of arguing because I tend to do the opposite, shut-down when in a discussion starts getting tense. Both are unhealthy ways of dealing with conflict.
I’ll post more about dealing with conflict within the next month (hopefully – I’m not good at keeping promises on my blogs.), but I wanted to share just a few quick tips for when conflict arises. First, listen. There is a difference between hearing and listening. Try to understand what the person is saying. Next, before you respond consider pausing, breathing, and thinking. Too often we respond without thinking and taking a moment to stop can eliminate unnecessary arguments and conflicts.
When I took my marriage and family counseling course, one of the techniques I found of interest involved having couples paraphrase what the other said before responding. The exercise forced people to listen and think. Another thing to be aware of is why you are getting upset. Are you feeding off of the other person’s emotions? Is this a sensitive topic for you? Are you just having a bad day? Do you feel ignored? I’m more likely to raise my voice when I feel one of these ways.
Ending thoughts: be careful what you say and how you say it when you disagree, actually at all times. You don’t need conflict to make the good look better. You don’t need conflict to say I love you. I’m not saying that you won’t have it. I’m definitely not saying that you should always agree with the people you love. You are your own person with your own opinions. You will disagree. All I’m saying is be respectful about it, especially if you love the other person.
One last thing – My relationship group is starting this Thursday. I have it outlined, but I want to cover things the men what to talk about. I’m nervous and excited. I am in no way a relationship expert, but it’s a topic I care about. I’ll let you know how it goes next post.