Tag: disagreements

How to Handle Disagreements with Your Spouse

How to Handle Disagreements with Your Spouse

Ryan and I haven't always handled disagreements properly. We had a few ugly knock-down-drag-outs in the beginning of our marriage. One in particular was absolutely horrendous and ultimately lasted for a month. I detail it in this Live show I did on our Facebook page, and I also tell how we handle disagreements now. Watch here:

Disagreements in marriage can be healthy, and even a benefit, in your marriage. I talked about that in the show, and I explained how to make it happen. Be sure to watch, and then leave me a comment about how you and your spouse handle disagreements. I'd love to hear from you!

3 Tips for Resolving Disagreements

3 Tips for Resolving Disagreements

A few days ago, my husband, Ryan, and I heard music coming from the bathroom. Our son was in the shower, so Ryan knocked on the door and went in to investigate.

It turns out our teenage son had a phone in the bathroom to listen to music while he showered. Unfortunately, he had the phone in the shower with him.

Seriously. The phone was in the shower.

When asked, our son told us, "It's okay because I have it wrapped in a dry washcloth."

Not kidding.

This, my friends, is why I have a monthly standing appointment at the salon to get my gray hair colored. 

While I've never taken a phone into the shower, I have made plenty of other mistakes in my lifetime. Unfortunately, the ones that have caused the most regret involve hurting other people. I've said harmful things to family members and friends during disagreements that I've wished I could take back.

Words can't be taken back, however. They can't just be removed like we removed our son's phone from the shower. We need to be careful what we say during disagreements so we don't ruin a relationship. 

Here are a few tips for resolving disagreements effectively:

Don't Speak When You're Angry

We say things we may not mean when we're angry. It's important to take a step back, cool off, and then decide how to respond. 

Leave the situation if necessary, or sleep on it. If you're angry, you need the time to sort through the situation before you respond. You're less likely to say regretful things if you wait until you are no longer angry.

Carefully Consider What to Say

Once you're calm, it's important to take the time to formulate what you want to say. Word selection is paramount, so use caution when deciding on your response. 

Look at the situation from all angles, and be gracious but honest.

Move Forward

Once you have resolved a disagreement, don't linger on it. Dwelling on it won't make it disappear. Figure out how best to move forward, and then do that.

Our son learned that if he wants to listen to music in the shower, he needs to leave the phone outside the shower. He is moving forward and not dwelling on his mistake.

We must do the same in our relationships.

3 Tips for Resolving Disagreements
Diffusing Disagreements in Marriage: Fill the Tank

Diffusing Disagreements in Marriage: Fill the Tank

We loaded our five children into our minivan for a family trip. After everyone was buckled, we backed out of our driveway and noticed that our gas tank indicator showed "140 miles to empty."

Our destination was 141 miles away.

I suggested to my husband, Ryan, that we stop to fill up at the closest gas station on our way, which is 12 miles from our house. Ryan disagreed and thought we should wait to fill up until closer to our final destination.

I prefer to have a full gas tank before starting a trip. I don't like to watch the miles tick down and wonder if we'll be able to find a gas station when our tank is close to empty. Ryan would rather wait until later to fill up because we might find a lower gas price at a gas station closer to our destination.

Who is right?

I'd like to say that we calmly came to a quick solution to our disagreement. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

Instead, we spent the entire 12 miles to the closest station arguing about it, all with the kids witnessing our every word.

That 12 miles felt like it took days. 

Eventually, Ryan relented. He pulled into the gas station and got out to pump the gas. I think he even slammed his door as he got out (but that might just be my interpretation). He was only outside for a couple seconds, and then he got back in the car and started it. He muttered under his breath, "I forgot my wallet, and we have to go back home to get it."

Silence ensued until our oldest son, Maguire, piped up and stated, "Wow, Dad, it's a good thing we didn't drive all the way and then get gas like you wanted to."

I'd like to say that I did not revel in the feeling of "being right" for a little while, but that would be a lie. 

Thankfully Ryan laughed, apologized for being stubborn, and agreed with Maguire that he was happier to find out this close to home that he didn't have his wallet with him. I apologized, too. We talked, and everyone laughed the whole way back to our house to retrieve the wallet. 

It turned out comical, but we could have done better.

Husbands and wives are generally very different people. Physical differences aside, husbands and wives often have very different personalities. They look at the world from different perspectives. They solve problems in different ways. These differences can make for amazing teamwork, but they can also lead to serious disagreements.

Ryan is very detail-oriented and likes to map out a plan before doing anything. In hindsight, he says that getting gas at our nearby station was not in his original plan, so he became inflexible. He struggles when his plans are disrupted. On that day, my idea to get gas closer to home was the disruption of his plan.

I like to have gas in the tank before a trip so I don't have to think about any of the details during the trip. I hate details and plans, so I get them out of the way before I can have fun. In hindsight, I realize his plan was equally valid (minus the wallet situation), and might have even saved us money.

Neither of us was right, and neither of us was wrong. We just had a difference of opinion. We disagreed. We argued about it because we are both stubborn and wanted to get our own way. Instead of arguing, we both should have shown some humility and grace. Then we could have discussed our options and made a decision we could both live with. We both need to be more flexible. We both need to compromise more. We are real people who often get this right, but at times we obviously don't.

Disagreements will always occur. Diffusing them takes love, understanding of different personalities, and a willingness to compromise. Love demands that we fight our individual need to be right, and work together as a team instead. We need to build each other up in order to truly fill the tank. 


Diffusing Disagreements in Marriage: Fill the Tank