I possess expert-type knowledge in several arenas: Star Wars trivia, college football stats of the past two decades, random census statistics, and creative arguments. You may notice none of these lead to an optimal career track. In fact, the last one creates more headaches. As a child my parents tried to find a positive perspective concerning my creative arguing skills: You’ll make a great lawyer one day… You really know how to argue for justice- especially when it involves you… You also have a knack for effectively arguing your perspective- even when you are wrong. My gift for arguing never led to a law degree, and fortunately I’ve learned to argue far less with most people over the years.
Unfortunately, my knack for (ineffective) arguments often shows up in the worst possible place: my marriage. Maybe it’s an epic battle of testosterone vs. estrogen existing in close proximity for extended periods of time. Maybe it’s the byproduct of my ultra-competitive-win-at-all costs male ego. Maybe I don’t like it when my wife strategically points out exactly where I am wrong…
In my striving, struggling, praying, and seeking advice on how to squash the argumentative attitude, I’m now trying to adopt several guidelines:
- No weighty conversations after 10 p.m. I cannot remember a late night weighty discussion or debate I’ve had with Christin in the last twelve years that could not wait until morning. In the morning I always regret any argument which happened the night before. Something nasty happens inside of us emotionally, mentally, and spiritually when we go to bed angry.
- Don’t connect the topic to bigger issues. If we want to discuss and debate a topic then we need to stay on topic. Connecting the topic to bigger issues adds unnecessary weight and brings in unneeded emotions that distract from coming to a productive conclusion.
- Hit the brakes when angry. Once anger enters the conversation, the conversation quickly descends into an argument. Rational discussion becomes nearly impossible and comments become personal. I must learn to walk away, cool down, and re-engage the conversation later.
- Get rid of bitterness. Bitterness tends to hang on after an argument subsides and can build as additional arguments contribute to a growing snow-ball in our minds and hearts. Every successful married couple I know has advised that learning to continuously forgive each other is a must. I personally don’t know how to apart from divine intervention.
- Talk with experienced husbands. Nothing beats the perspective and wisdom earned through real-life experience. Finding an older role-model husband who is trustworthy to listen and speak into my life will help me navigate marital land-mines before they appear.
Maybe you’re reading this and never had an argument with your spouse. If that’s true, then…
You’ve been married less than one month.
You don’t have honest conversations.
You’ve redefined arguments as debates or conversations.
You should write a book because everyone else would buy it.
If you do struggle with arguing, what are your guidelines?
[typography font=”Delius Swash Caps” size=”24″ size_format=”px”]Written By, Kevin Pounds[/typography]
I and my family LOVE living in Burlington. I’m blessed to “do life” with Christin, my wife of twelve years, and our two children: Jude (4) an Wren (2). I also serve as one of the pastors of Burlington City Church and on the board of Serve Burlington. I enjoy hiking, biking, movies (especially Star Wars) and playing with the family.
Good guidelines Kevin! As always, I truly enjoyed your thoughts.
Kevin, I really enjoyed this! Thanks for sharing!