This post comes rooted and inspired from a couple places: the counselor my wife and I saw when we were engaged, a couple arguments we’ve had over the years and how I acted in them, and the book I’m currently reading (Healing the Masculine Soul).
Like good sex, a good argument means that a husband is finally active, involved and engaged with his wife. It is tangible proof that he can be strong. In the midst of battle, he is no longer a wet noodle.
We men are more often geared for content and solutions than process and relationships; the woman is often less concerned with what she’s fighting about than with whom she’s fighting.
This is more than just saying “yeah… uhuh… sure… uhuh…” while your woman vents at you. Let’s say there’s something that’s broken, and she tells you about how that screwed up part of her day, she may or may not need you to fix it, but at that moment, its about sharing the mundane everyday things with one another. It’s about engaging, not hiring a repairman (that’s where the Honey-Do List comes in).
Consider how our kids meet and make friends. Little boys will play with anyone who is interested in the same things, and only know what each others’ names are. Girls, on the other hand, will never truly get along until they learn whether or not their personalities will mesh together. I saw this in my daughter who took a few tries to get along with a neighbor girl who’s her age, versus my nephews who took only 3 minutes with the neighbor girl’s brother.
What it comes down to, is that we see a problem that needs fixing, but our spouses are not projects, they are people. There is no formula for people, and there is not definitive reaction to right thing to say in any given situation. It’s a matter of how we react and respond in the moment.
How do you and yours argue fairly? What ground rules, if any, do you have?