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Marriage Fight Club: How to Have a Good Argument

It’s not a matter of if, but when, you and your mate will have an argument. It’s a natural part of any relationship, but did you know there is a right way to have an argument? You have to be purposeful and prayerful, but you can argue in a healthy way in your marriage. Here are some helpful tips:

  1. Clarify what the actual conflict is.

    Make sure each of you understand WHAT you are upset about and WHY before moving any further. This saves time, frustration, and hurt.

  2. Stick to the issue at hand.

    Don’t bring up issues from the past.

  3. Maintain as much tender physical contact and eye contact as possible.

    This shows your mate that your love is unconditional. It may be as simple as holding hands or placing a hand on the other’s shoulder.

  4. Avoid sarcasm and exaggerated comments.

    This can be cutting and hurtful and will turn your mate off quickly. Be rational and reasonable when disagreeing; keep things into perspective.

  5. Avoid “you” statements.

    In an argument these can sound accusatory and immediately make your spouse defensive. Try to relate to him or her how the action made you feel, think, hurt.

  6. Don’t resort to name calling.

    This will cause deeper pain through hurtful words. If this happens, you should continue the discussion later when you’ve both calmed down.

  7. Avoid power statements and threats.

    Don’t say things like, “If you don’t sit up from the couch, then I won’t talk to you . . .” Don’t threaten divorce—this can only cause the other person to lose security and feel that the love in your relationship is conditional.

  8. Don’t use the silent treatment.

    Silence will not resolve anything and will only lead to a greater chasm between you and your spouse.

  9. Keep your argument private.

    Your relationship is between the two of you. It will embarrass and belittle your mate if you share your arguments with others.

  10. Repeat what you think the other person said.

    This will avoid misunderstanding and dangerous assumptions.

  11. Resolve hurt feelings before continuing with conflict resolution.

    Hurt feelings can act as a stone wall that won’t let you get to the conflict. Deal with them first. Apologize for any hurtful statements so that you can move to resolving the real issue.

  12. Resolve that both of you will win.

    Continue to work on the situation until both of you feel comfortable with the solution.

  13. Strive to reflect honor in all your words and actions.

    Honor is paramount in a marriage. Guard it always, even in the face of conflict.

  14. Pray before resolving the conflict.

    This will focus both of you on the Lord and open you up to start communicating in an honorable way.

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 *For more practical marriage advice, check out The Great Marriage Q&A Book. It’s available in our online bookstore!