romantic sunset

Does it seem like you and your wife end up in one argument after another? Do you feel like you are walking on eggshells or through a minefield in which any step could cause the spouse to explode?

If this is the case, do not worry because change is possible. You and your wife can make improvements in the way you communicate. However, you and your mate need to discover why arguments keep coming up.

Misunderstandings

Is there a failure to understand or interpret something correctly at times, which leads to a minor disagreement or dispute? Are there times when you say something, and you know what you meant, but the wife reads another meaning into it. Are there times when your wife says she told you something that you were supposed to remember, but you do not even remember her ever telling you?

Differences

There was a couple dating through long distance chat on Facebook. She was from Chile, and he was from America. She spoke Spanish and very little English. He spoke English and next to no Spanish. The cultural difference between two countries over 7,000 miles (11265 Kilometers) removed was a factor as well. Even two people from the same country and even the same city will face differences as to their worldviews. In this case, it is easy to misunderstand based on small or great differences in one’s views, culture,[1] languages, and the like.

Bad Examples

Some people’s parents argued every day about what seemed like things that were not important or significant. It baffled you as a child at how they argued over the same things year after year, day after day. In these arguments, as things escalated, your parents might have said many disrespectful things to each other. One couple argued every day, almost like clockwork, would say the most heinous things to each other. After a few hours of not speaking to one another, the next thing in the process was a couple of hours of I love you.

Beneath the Surface

Many times the argument is not even really about what got it started. There is something else beneath the surface, which ignites and fuels an argument. Maybe, you are deep in an argument as to why you are always late! It is not so much about your punctuality as it is your spouse feels as though she is being taken for granted or treated thoughtlessly in a number of things.

Regardless of the cause, frequent arguments have a major impact on a marriage. Not only will it eventually cause the love for each other to cool down, so you grow apart, it will cause health damages as well. Thus, the question, how can you stop arguing?

Steps to fewer Arguments

Why do I say fewer arguments? Before we list what we can do, it is best that we revisit just what our circumstances are as imperfect humans. If a human knows that, they suffer from turrets syndrome, it is no surprise to them or their spouse that they compulsively utter obscenities. Certainly, a wife of a husband or a husband of a wife would not be as troubled by their spouse who utters obscenities because of suffering from turrets syndrome. Therefore, the same married couple should have an understanding of their spouse suffering from inherited sin, imperfections, and human weaknesses, so as to make allowances for falling short. Just how bad is it?

HUSBANDS - Love Your WivesThere are four factors to our stress and difficult times (1) We are imperfect and live in an imperfect world, compounded by the fact that God’s Word says we are mentally bent and lean toward doing bad. We read, “When the LORD saw that the wickedness of man on the earth was great and that the whole bent of his thinking was never anything but evil, the LORD regretted that he had ever made man on the earth.” (Gen. 6:5, AT)  (2) We have a wicked spirit creature, Satan the Devil, who is misleading the entire world of humankind. We read, “Be sober-minded;[2] be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Pet. 5:8) (3) We live in a world that caters to the imperfect flesh. We read, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and its lusts; but the one who does the will of God remains forever.” (1 John 2:16-17) (4) We are unable to understand our inner person, which the Bible informs us is wicked: “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick; who can understand it?” The apostle Paul tells us, “just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.” There is only one major factor in all four parts that will have an effect on the other two, you.–Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 5:12.

Yes, at times, we create our own stress. Because (1) we do not understand our true imperfection, and our imperfection is easily misled by point number (2), Satan. Moreover, we are easily enticed by point numbers (3-4), the world and its desires, as well as our heart. We read, “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own desire.[3] Then the desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” (Jam. 1:14-15, ESV) Only by an active faith in Christ, and a true understanding of our imperfection, can we hope to function in an imperfect world, defeat Satan, gain control over our imperfect flesh, allow God to read our heart and help us not to fall victim to our own desires of the eyes? Moreover, many times, it is our imperfect perception of an incident that angers us, not necessarily the spouse.

What Can You Do

If you are serious, you will want to identify the true issue that lies beneath the argument. Just as a noise in a car is not the real problem, it is whatever is lying behind that noise, so too, the argument itself is not the problem. When you and your spouse are getting along, try the following.

Pull out those same two tablets, so that you and your spouse can write down what you believe a recent argument was about. The husband may write, “you were out all day with your friends and never called so I would know where you were.” Then, the wife writes, “You are always angry because I spend time with my friends.”

First, we note the absolute thinking errors. Absolute thinking is the tendency to think in concrete, black and white terms. “I am absolutely delighted” or “I am absolutely devastated.” A cognitive error in which events are interpreted in total or absolute ways; thus failure at a particular task might lead to the thought “I cannot do anything right.”

Second, consider just how serious the so-called offense was. Is this one of those things that we make allowances for, concerning our spouse because of human imperfection? We have to realize that human imperfection will affect the both of us. In many cases, just agree to disagree. Wise King Solomon said, “Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.” (Prov. 17:9) Max Anders writes, “When someone has committed an offense against you or some third party, you have two options available: cover it over by a discreet silence or publicize it through gossip and complaint. Your choice affects more than just yourself. Covering the offense promotes love by maintaining an atmosphere of trust; the person who repeats the matter stirs up suspicion, even among close friends.”[4]

If the matter was insignificant, just apologize, and the other accepts the apology. Then, never bring it up again.

Colossians 3:13-14 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

13 putting up with one another and forgiving one another. If anyone should have a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these things put on love, which is a perfect bond of union.

On the other hand, if it is a significant wrong, there is another step in this process.

On your tablet, write down what you were feeling during the argument. The husband writes, “I felt as though your friends were more important than me.” While the wife writes, I felt like I was being treated like a child and you were my father, whom I had to check in every two hours.”

Now, you hand your tablet to your wife and take hers, reading each other’s comments. Now, take note of the issue beneath the surface of the argument for each other. Without arguing more, talk about how you felt and what you could (not what the other could) have done differently. Solomon wrote, “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.” (Prov. 29:11) Anders writes, “One of the characteristics of a fool is his inability to hold back his anger (literally, his spirit). A wise man, on the other hand, keeps his temper under control, even in a confrontation. The Hebrew for keeping oneself under control is literally “to calm it back”; the same word is used in Psalms 65:7 and 89:9 to describe the stilling of a storm. What a perfect picture of a godly response when we are tempted to blow up!”[5]

Now, take a moment to discuss what you have learned throughout this process. How will it help you to decrease the number of arguments? What was it that each of you truly needs during your dispute, which would have claimed the emotional responses? Was it understanding?

Proverbs 17:9 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

Whoever covers a transgression seeks love,
but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.

[1] Culture is defined as a set of values, practices, traditions or beliefs a group shares, whether due to age, race or ethnicity, religion or gender.

[2] Sober Minded: (Gr. nepho) This denotes being sound in mind, to be in control of one’s thought processes and thus not be in danger of irrational thinking, ‘to be sober-minded, to be well composed in mind.’–1 Thessalonians 5:6, 8; 2 Timothy 4:5; 1 Peter 1:13; 4:7; 5:8

[3] Or “own lust

[4] Anders, Max. Holman Old Testament Commentary – Proverbs (p. 222). B&H Publishing. Kindle Edition.

[5] Anders, Max. Holman Old Testament Commentary – Proverbs (p. 198). B&H Publishing. Kindle Edition.