Marriage/ relationship tip: To argue or not to argue
Johnny “Rotten” Lydon of the Sex Pistols said about his wife: “This is the person I fully intend to argue with for the rest of my life. And believe me, arguments are fantastic.” After 31 years of marriage, this outrageous, acerbic celebrity must be doing something right. (Full quote at the bottom)
But some of us abhor arguing. Not me, I love it! If you do and your spouse doesn’t, you may be hurting your relationship when you go at it. Even if you both enjoy verbal tussles, the same may be true. Despite intentions of keeping things intellectual, civil and logical, emotions flare and feelings get trampled.No magical formula exists as to how much to fight, but some happy relationships have few if no arguments.
NEWS FLASH: For frequent debaters who love winning, submitting and even surrendering to your soulmate can be liberating. Battling the world can be exhausting. So why not bask in the sweet surrender to your one true love? Ultimately, what’s more important – winning the argument or strengthening your relationship?
If there is a fundamental disagreement that involves something crucial like money, child-rearing, lifestyle decisions, etc., giving in if you believe you’re right could be detrimental so you must come to an agreement. What to do?
1. First, you must both agree that you love each other and want the best outcome, even if that means that you do not get your way. If your partner doesn’t agree to this, is it because of a. lack of trust (ex. used to losing to you or others), b. viewing this issue as too important to mess up, or c. a personality trait that prevents compromise or surrender? If a. or b., you should spend some time reassuring your partner even if that means putting off the discussion. If c., you may have to seek a different solution to what is suggested here.
2. Next, agree on the intended outcome. Often you share the same desired results but imagine different paths. If you disagree on the outcome (ex. our daughter should go to college), perhaps you need to determine if a more fundamental outcome exists (ex. our daughter should be independent and happy), and agree on that.
3. Lay out your different paths for getting to the desired outcome and explain to each other why you think they are valid. If you can both agree that both paths are valid but are simply preferences, then look at the fine points of each path and try to decide together which is better for you as a couple, not just you as an individual.
4. Before, you lock in one path or the other, look at the pros and cons of each, trying to combine elements and create a third and better path that suits you both. The third path will be superior to compromise, which is simply sacrificing. This method allows you to create a perfect fit for the two of you, especially if you both cannot agree that both paths are valid ones.
“Getting to Yes” by Fisher and Ury is a great book that outlines these principles in detail. Although it’s geared to business and political negotiations, it is based on the principle that you want to further your relationship with the other party through mutually beneficial agreements.
However you choose to decide, remember – love comes first! Not winning.
Full quote from his interview with Tony Paris in Atlanta’s Creative Loafing: “This is the person I fully intend to argue with for the rest of my life. And believe me, arguments are fantastic. I mean they’re really savage, but they’re such great fun. If they’re used as such, you can learn from them. If you’re just gonna get spiteful and petty with each other, then you know, it’s time to move on. That hasn’t been the case yet, and I don’t think it will be…A quality mismatch. If we both had the same opinions, it would be extremely dull.”order baclofenbaclofenbuy brand cialis online
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