A while back Kate and I were arguing. We had gone round and round and neither of us was getting anywhere. Then in an act of desperation I thrust out with a, “But you said…” It was a dangerous thrust, one that almost never works. Tossing your wife’s words back at her does not win points, but this time they hit their mark. With a breath Kate said, “You’re right” the two words that most men feel are synonymous to climbing Mount Everest or finding the Holy Grail. My eyes widened, ears rang. I resisted the urge to lift my arms in a victory dance, but just barely. I had won!
Victory was in my grasp, what I had been fighting for was at hand, but one look at my wife’s face told me that this was not the winning I wanted.
Fight for What’s Right
Like Kate said in her post, Arm Wrestling Well In Marriage, every couple will fight. If you don’t fight you have different issues (usually lack of communication). One of the problems most couples have is that men and women fight very differently. Women fight emotionally, with their feelings’ while men fight with their heads, with logic, facts (or what we feel are facts) and details. I’m not saying men don’t use emotions, or women don’t use logic, I am only saying that at the core of arguments there is usually a difference based on thoughts vs. emotions.
What’s The Goal?
The problem with men fighting with logic and facts is that we often get caught up completely in the details of the disagreement. We miss the simple question what is the goal?
Men before you say another word in an argument with your wife you need to think about what the goal of your argument is.
As I look at most arguments I discover that at their root are the goals:
- To be right
- To get my way
- To complain
- To be selfish
The problem is even if I win the argument, what do I get? Nothing good for me, our family, and certainly nothing good for our marriage!
Fight to Win
As you feel the next fight emerging ask yourself what winning would look like. Usually in my experience winning an argument this way is about gaining understanding about each other. If you start to enter the argument by trying to really understand your spouse’s thoughts you will probably need to change your tactics. You will need to listen more, ask questions more, and yell a whole lot less.
Fighting to understand looks and feels quite a bit different, but when a win happens in this kind of argument, it will actually feel like a win!
Have you ever won an argument that didn’t feel like much of a win?
How have you changed your arguing tactics to make sure that winning is positive?