Changing how you speak to each other, when you speak to each other, and where you speak to each other are important for building success in your marriage. Focusing on how you both feel rather than winning the argument and listening to your partner so that you truly understand what they want you to know are equally valuable choices. These choices can prevent the anger and resentment so many couples experience.
In the past, you may have felt enlightened for educating yourself with rules about fighting fairly in conflicts. I strongly disagree with such a notion. Couples will have disagreements, but I don’t want you to “fight fair.” I want you not to fight at all! I want to show you how positive communication will cause a shift in the direction of wholeness.
So what does positive communication look like? Positive communication focuses on what is currently happening at present; it does not bring up the past and create a negative atmosphere by reinstating old emotions. It focuses on one clear issue at a time. Honest communication doesn’t muddy the waters with different issues that are sensitive and emotional. Stay on task.
Also, be aware that the right setting is essential for proper communication. Productive discourse occurs when both parties have energy, clarity, and focus. Therefore, trying to communicate at the end of the day when you are tired is not a good plan for talking with your spouse about something confrontational. Don’t choose the heat of the moment to drive your point home or try to hide the truth, either. That choice has harmful results, and you are learning to keep it positive and honest.
Choosing to be resilient in your relationship involves more than communication. Couples who function from a positive mindset are more cooperative than competitive. When the relationship becomes competitive, it has likely also turned negative. In contrast, a healthy marriage is a cooperative venture in which both partners try to help each other become the best people and the best spouses they can be. The goal is not to win by ending up with more of the limited resources in the relationship, but to make sure that each partner is loved, accepted, valued, and honored in their interactions.
‘ This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; ‘ James 1:19
Is winning the argument more important to you than showing compassion toward your spouse? The next time you start to argue, intentionally choose to stop and listen to your spouse’s perspective. What happened when you did?