Do you want to win the battle or do you want to win the war?
“Better to retire and save your aircraft than push a bad position.” Viper We get into fights and arguments all the time, for all kinds of different reasons. Most of it is a different point of view based on ones past and not knowing how to truly listen and understand the other person. We as a society have lost the simple ability to listen with any kind of empathy, or even care to the other person’s point of view. Our differences are important, but understanding and respecting those differences is equally as important.
When we talk about marriage and long term relationships, or any relationship for that matter it’s important to realize conflict will come up in every relationship. When conflict comes up the key is not to avoid it, but to learn how to successfully iterate your point of view, accept the other persons, and find a common ground solution. I personally have not been very good at this in the past. I’m not usually the type to go into hulk mode, yell and scream, hulk smash sort of thing, but I would instead use a logical approach, use data and facts to back up my argument. Now most would say that’s a great way to go at it, however, while sometimes it’s a good way, others it can be a great determent. When the argument has an emotional side and the other person has an emotional response to the argument, not asking or understanding that POV can be hurtful to the other person. If you are like me, and in the past I would say well these are the facts, and because of that, everything else is wrong, that can make the other person feel rejected because you didn’t take the time to listen or understand the how or the why they feel that way.
If we take just a little bit of time to question if the argument or disagreement we’re in is important or now we can avoid a lot of problems just by throwing in the towel sooner. One of my major faults was to approach the argument by way of evidence and if it were rejected I’d try to give the evidence a different spin and present again. Sadly, repeating an argument doesn’t usually get you anymore, so learn from me, and don’t do that. Maybe once or twice, but even that second try of repeating may not be a good idea. A Christians we are taught in James 1:19 “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:” This isn’t a suggestion, this is what we are told to do. When we listen, and listen with empathy we can learn a great deal about the other side of the table.
When we are at the table we should learn one particularly useful trait and with the empathetic listening we should also use the art of negotiations. If the debate is getting out of hand we should learn how to back up, and open the table to negotiations for a compromise. Trust me guys and gals, it’s better to both loose something in the negotiations rather then loose each other. If we for just one second try to look through God’s eyes and use God’s heart we may just learn it’s better to just let go, because whatever you’re arguing about may not be important in a few days, or even a few hours. Some big decisions should be handled with lots of prayer and open lines of communication, but always learn to compromise and negotiate. Always learn why the other person feels the way they do.
If you want a long, strong, healthy relationship it’s best to learn the skills of how to effectively present your side of any discussion and learn how to ask for the other. Get all the facts. When you’re angry or frustrated check the facts, see if your emotions match the level situation. We can often be more frustrated then we should be, we can be more angry than we should be, and it’s important to be able to catch when those things happen.
Remember when you love someone whatever the argument is, it’s probably not worth the fight. Once we get to fighting we’ve lost track of the point of love. Love your neighbors as yourself which means fighting with them is hurting you too. As Viper said in top Gun it’s better to retire then get yourself into a bad situation.