I’ve always wanted to be a good husband. I’ve found, though, that marriage cannot truly be a blessing if my wife and I don’t handle disagreement well. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned that have allowed our marriage not only to endure disagreement, but also to flourish in spite of it.
- Remember that it’s not about being right or wrong; it’s about being one. Our goal must never be to “win an argument”; rather, it should be to seek reconciliation and unity.
- In the midst of conflict, give your spouse the benefit of the doubt. When your spouse acts out of character, remind yourself that this isn’t normal behavior. Instead of choosing to retaliate, offer grace and seek to find out the root issue. Overreacting disrupts the opportunity for unity.
- Always affirm your spouse’s feelings. Regardless of whether or not you understand why your spouse is hurt, always seek to see their point of view and validate it. A surefire way to disrupt unity is to make your spouse feel ridiculous or stupid for feeling the way they do.
- When you apologize, make sure you do it wholeheartedly. Half an apology is really no apology at all. We can’t fool our spouses into thinking a fake apology is authentic.
- Let your actions communicate your desire for unity. When you apologize to your spouse, show your commitment to unity in an appropriate way. For example, when I humble myself enough to hug my wife, hold her hand, touch her shoulder, etc., it communicates to her that I seriously mean what I’m saying. Sometimes, one simple touch can change the whole mood of the conversation.
- Never raise your voice. Talk to your spouse; don’t yell. Love never needs to wield such a weapon. If you raise your voice, very soon you will lose it.
- Never seek to punish your spouse because you’ve been hurt. Pouting or ignoring your spouse is never a sign of maturity; it’s a sign of pride.
- Remind yourself that every moment you spend with your spouse is a blessing from the Lord. None of us is guaranteed to wake up another morning beside our spouse. Don’t let petty arguments drive you away from each other. Each day is an opportunity to either grow or stifle your love for one another.
What lessons have you learned that you could add to this list?
This article originally appeared here.