when i first said i was going to write a post on arguing fairly, devin replied with: first you'd have to learn how to argue fairly. haha! (remember when i said he was witty?)
despite the fact he was joking, i really am the worst at expressing my disagreement in a loving manner. having learned the hard way, i now know what should actually be done in an argument. and it only took nearly 4 years of marriage! ha! ha! ha. i talked a bit about how we used to argue when i wrote about how sanctifying marriage is, but here i want to dive into specific suggestions for how to handle arguing. while i'm coming from the point of view of a married person, these ideas could be applied to other relationships!
1// raise your voice so that a) the neighbors know how passionate you are about everything and b) you win the argument. our poor neighbors.
2// obviously #1 was a total joke. instead, try and keep your voice calm. if you can't speak at a normal volume because you're too fired up, try to articulate that you'll revisit the issue when things have settled down. (i was awful at being able to process my emotions in the moment; plus, devin's refined, lawyer-quality debating skills are above my pay grade. so if we talked about things in the heat of the moment, i would not be able to get my point across well and would resort to yelling.)
3// when you are ready to have the discussion, leave out the arsenal of carefully compiled wrongs the other person has committed.
4// instead, listen well. this goes for all the time, but especially in arguments: carefully listen to what the other person is saying, and don't mentally compile your well-worded counter-attack in your head. try to empathize.
5// then, focus on what you are responsible for. don't throw around blame and what the other person did wrong. i am EXCELLENT at pointing out the speck in devin's eye while risking our lives by walking around with a plank in my own. (Bible jokes are the best, #amiright?). while it's suuuuper easy for me to point out things he has done, the only behavior i can change/control is my own. what can i do to get us closer to a solution?
my bonus tip is this: make prayer a close companion to all your dispute-resolving conversations. God, what do you want me to say in this moment? how can i represent you well in this discussion?
ephesians 4 says, "get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger..." and then it goes on to say that instead, we should "be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other..." (which is already difficult). but it doesn't stop there. we need to forgive each other as Jesus forgave us. which means complete forgiveness. whew!
what are your suggestions to handling disagreement in your marriage or friendships?