Have you ever heard a couple say, "We never argue"? They have perfected the "Yes, Dear," and the rest of us just roll our eyes.
Arguing within a marriage can simply be a passionate discussion. The secret is to keep your eye on the goal: a stronger, and more honest, loving relationship. Who wouldn't want that?
Mary Frances and I learned something recently about the verse "Love bears all things" in the litany of love virtues read at so many weddings. It actually has to do with the use of the tongue, "to hold one's peace." And yes, it means to speak kindly and to not have to have the last word in an argument.
Tom is really sensitive to others and that is one of the things I love most about him. It is a gift he brings to our marriage. Mary Frances can be driven by high standards and this makes it much easier for her to confront, which can be a good thing, too. This leads to tension and we can argue over how to address situations in our office, how we handle family issues, mange time and money or simply whether or not we watch a football game with a friend or rake leaves.
When either of us gets heated, we can fight to win. It sounds stupid to be passionate about raking leaves or watching football, but it happens. We learned something on our WWME Weekend. We have both found it helpful to step back and reflect. What do I want? What are my motives? How can I share my feelings and my thoughts without blaming or blowing up in an ugly fight? Then we can have a loving discussion.
Bottom line: Don't fight to win! But don't shy away from conflict, either. Sweeping things under the carpet is not being honest with yourself or your spouse. Dishonesty is not want we want in a relationship.
Fighting to win and having to speak the last word is not good either. No one wants to sleep with a Looser! Remember: Arguing is not the enemy. Fighting to win is!