Think about the last argument you and your partner had. What were you trying to accomplish? Be honest. More than likely, you were trying to “prove” the rightness of your position, weren’t you? On a scale of 1-10, how successful were you? How successful have you really been doing this with any of your arguments?
How did the argument end? Did you convince your partner that your position was “right”? Did they convince you that their’s was? Or did one of you just “agree” so the arguing would stop? If it was you who gave in, did you feel resentful and/or frustrated? Did your partner? How common is this way of interacting with your partner? How does it leave you both feeling?
If you’re like most couples, this is the road they take that leads to irreconcilable differences. It doesn’t have to be that way. If you know the secret, you can stop having these pointless arguments over and over again.
As I stated in a recent post, you and your partner will disagree from time to time. Life would truly be boring if the two of you thought exactly alike all the time. Your arguments stem from being uncomfortable with each other’s position. This discomfort leads to your partner attacking your opinion and you attacking their opinion.
Once you feel your position is being attacked, your knee-jerk reaction is to defend it. This is exactly the wrong thing to do. Once you defend your opinion, you are tacitly agreeing with your partner that something is wrong with it. In reality, if it can be supported by the facts, your position is as equally valid as your partner’s. It’s just different.
DO NOT DEFEND OR JUSTIFY YOURSELF
It is always acceptable to be willing to explain your thinking in how you came to your conclusions. The problem comes when you feel you have to defend or justify those conclusions. Just because your partner questions you, it doesn’t mean you are incorrect in your thinking. The more confident you are in your opinion, the less susceptible you are to the need to defend yourself. That is the secret.
DON’T SECOND GUESS YOURSELF
Your partner may be very good at getting you to second guess yourself. They may tell you that your reason’s are insufficient, illogical, or irrationally based in emotion. Just because they say it, it doesn’t make it true. It only becomes true if you believe it. The key is believing that you don’t have to justify your thoughts or feelings. You have the right to your own beliefs and it’s okay that they are different from your partner’s.
HOLD YOUR POSITION CALMLY
Once you get this clarity and develop the ability to hold your position calmly in the face of opposition, you will be on your way to stopping the unproductive arguments. Once you no longer feel the need to defend your viewpoint, you will be free to find a workable solution to what once appeared to be irreconcilable.
Previously Published on The Hero Husband Project and is republished on Medium.
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