Below are strategies to help avoid arguments. Keeping healthy and balanced relationships free from arguments can promote well-being, and reduce stress and the associated health risks that go along with it.
- It takes two to argue. If you don’t answer back, there cannot be an argument. Just say, “I’d rather not talk about it now” and softly repeat that phrase.
- Arguments escalate with the volume of the arguers. “A soft answer turns away wrath” (Proverbs 15:1). The more forceful the other person argues, the quieter your response becomes. You will see the other side tone down her/her voice in response.
- You can’t have an argument if you agree. “That’s a good point.” “I hadn’t thought about that.” “You are definitely right.” Focus on where you can agree, not where you differ.
- Admit you were wrong. No one is ever totally right. Find something to apologize for, to take responsibility for. The other person will feel better and may even own up to some mistakes of his/her own.
- Do not accuse or attack. Don’t say, “You said this.” “You did that!” Ask questions, don’t make statements. And ask questions with sincerity not as a cutting sword to make an attack.
- Remember your goal! In the case of marriage, you want harmony, peace, a good atmosphere, and love. Arguments breed stress and anxiety, not peace and pleasantness. Tell yourself: I love my spouse, I love my kids, I love my money (divorces cost a lot of money).
- Don’t be foolish to show disrespect to your chosen one and to yourself by saying things that are damaging, mean or not worthwhile. You chose this person to be your spouse. This is the person above all others who has the qualities to be chosen over the other billions of people on this planet.
- Turn the argument into a discussion. Don’t defend a position; set forth an idea or problem to be clarified. People of good will who reason together can come to a common conclusion. Listen with an open mind. Be a judge, not a lawyer!
- Ask yourself, “Is this argument really worth it?” In the end, whatever you are arguing about may be ultimately trivial and there are other issues of communication, respect, responsibilities which are creating the angst and anger and the reasons why you are arguing rather than discussing in the first place.