Does anyone else ever argue with their spouse? I like to think my husband and I have a pretty strong relationship, but that doesn’t mean we don’t ever disagree. At least so far we’ve been able to talk things out and resolve the conflict, but that doesn’t mean our conversations don’t get heated.

When you disagree with your husband, how do you react? I took a training for work a while ago that talked about when we’re in crucial, emotional conversations, our brain goes into a fight or flight mode and either shuts down or amps up. When you’re in the middle of an argument, it’s hard to see or hear reason.

Good fighting

Last fall we went to a virtual marriage night where a married couple of two counselors (Les and Leslie Parrot) talked about how to fight well–or rather, in a healthy way. They explained there are four CORE elements:

  • Cooperation: recognize you’re on the same team.
  • Ownership: own your piece of the pie; practice humility.
  • Respect: this is the opposite of contempt. Even if you don’t agree, you can respect the other person.
  • Empathy: put yourselves in each others’ shoes.

They also explained that you won’t necessarily be able to put all four of them into practice–especially in the heat of the moment–but that at least one will come more easily than the others. Lean into that one.

Good communication

Les and Leslie also talked about a few elements of good communication.

First, clarify the content of what your spouse is trying to say. On average, each English word has three and half different meanings! So what you think is clear may not be.

Second, reflect their feelings. Verbally recognize what you think they’re feeling based on the conversation. It may not be accurate, but approaching it in a genuine way will open the door for them to better explain what they are feeling so you can move forward from there.

Speak up

When you and your husband argue, how do you settle the disagreement? Do you have additional strategies that have helped foster a healthy approach to resolution?

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