How Do We Work Out Disagreements? Are We Ready For Marriage Series

angry-argument-breakup-984954.jpg

Welcome back to Part 2 of this week’s series: Are We Ready For Marriage? 7 Questions to Ask Yourself!

This week I’ll be tackling the tough questions that a lot of couples don’t even know to ask (or choose to ignore) when they start making plans to get married.

Marriage is a big deal, and as long as you haven’t said “I do” yet, you shouldn’t feel obligated to stay in a relationship that isn’t healthy or right for you. Remember, the person you marry has a HUGE impact on the course of your life. This choice can either propel you to fulfill your purpose in life, or drown you in discouragement and disappointment.

Whether you’re single or in a relationship, you need to answer these questions HONESTLY so that you don’t ignore the red flags if/when they present themselves. If you start out knowing what you stand for, and what you won’t allow, it will be a lot easier to discern if you should stay or walk away from a relationship.

So here they are, 7 questions to ask yourself if you’re thinking about getting married:

  1. Do Our Goals and Values Match? (Read that post here).

  2. Do We Have Chemistry? (Read that post here).

  3. How Do We Work Out Disagreements?

  4. How Do We Communicate?

  5. What Do I Know About Their Past?

  6. How Do I Get Along with my Potential In-Laws

  7. What Do I Know About Their Family History

Today we’re tackling #3, which is a BIG one.

Disagreements in themselves aren’t a bad thing; in fact, overcoming conflict together can make a couple stronger. But there are some patterns that are very toxic to the relationship, and to the other person. Any time one of these becomes a pattern in the relationship, there’s a big problem:

  • Put-downs (can be direct or subtle sarcasm)

  • Profanity

  • Silent treatment (ignoring phone calls and text messages, refusal to talk to you)

  • Yelling

  • Violence (scratching, pushing, biting, hitting even if it happens just once)

If you have any of these patterns in your relationship, even if it only happens during an argument or disagreement, I strongly urge you to reconsider this relationship.  All of the patterns on this list show a lack of self-control. It shows that the person you’re with does not yet know how to process their emotions, or manage them enough to have a calm conversation about the problem. It means that they identify YOU as the problem in the relationship when things go wrong.

In order for a couple to become stronger when they face conflict, each person has to be able to step back and see the bigger picture. Each person has to be able to remember that the problem can be resolved, and the relationship is a team where you handle your problems by working together, not by treating the other person as an enemy.

When a disagreement happens, remember that this issue has the potential to bring you closer to each other, or drive you apart. It can help you understand one another better, or it can poison your love. If you want to become a stronger couple, focus on solving the problem. What adjustments do YOU need to make in order to make things better? What specific things do you want your partner to do to make things better?

Now, If you’re the one in the relationship doing the behaviors on the earlier list in this article, I strongly urge you to GET HELP. No matter how much you love your partner, your love will only hurt them until you learn how to process and manage your emotions. Maybe you want to stop, but find yourself doing the same hurtful things over and over again. You may be wrestling with issues that you don’t even understand, so stop trying to fix it yourself.

If you really love your partner, for their sake, go to a licensed therapist who can help you figure things out. The way you treat your partner should reflect God’s love-kindness, gentleness, compassion, and forgiveness. If your love doesn’t look like that, then walk away until it does. Love them enough to let them go while you go work on yourself.

Relationships take work, and most of that work happens while overcoming conflict and disagreements. So disagreements aren’t a bad thing. But it’s important to take a close look at HOW you resolve these. Can you honestly say that you tackle your issues together, solve them, and become stronger? Or do you ignore the problem and pretend it’s not that important? Maybe you let your emotions get the best of you and say or do things that make your partner feel worthless.

“How Do We Work Out Disagreements?” is a question that a lot of people are afraid to answer honestly to themselves. They think that things will change in time, or that it was just that one time. Any time something is a pattern in your relationship, marriage won’t suddenly change it. In fact, it will only MAGNIFY IT. Sharing a home, bills, and a bed with someone 24/7 will only put you in more direct contact with them, so how can things suddenly change?

They won’t.

Stay tuned for the rest of the series, coming to you later this week!

P.S. If you want to learn more about what it takes to get ready for marriage, I put together a set of ebooks JUST for you! Check it out here!