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Disagreeing - Part 1

Posted on January 24, 2008
There is a 50% divorce rate in America. Divorce comes from unresolved disagreements between you and the woman you took for better or worse. I get asked about building better marriages a lot, so in the next two weeks newsletters and blog post I will explain how my bride of twenty years and I resolve our disagreements ( And lived happily ever after)
HIM:  You mean you want me to (FILL IN BLANK ABOUT THE WIFE'S REQUEST) without being asked.
HER:  Yes, because when I have to ask, I feel as if I'm being your Mother.  And I'd really like for you to do it by bed time every night.
HIM:  Okay, I think that makes sense.  I'll go with that, but Tuesdays will be tough because of my regular men's group meeting.
HER:  I don't have a problem with that.
The above mock conversation is about resolving disagreements between a husband and wife.  Marriage counselor, Gary Chapman, says it's about finding a winning solution by choosing to believe a solution is possible. 
It took my wife, Ro, and I some years to learn how to respect one another's ideas and feelings.  We've had to see that emotions in of themselves are neither right nor wrong, that it is okay to have whatever feelings we have.  But what is wrong or right are actions.  To say, "I just want to scream bloody murder and leave" is one thing, but to do so is quite another. 
Essential to a winning solution is really listening - not just pretending - to the other and being respectful of one another ideas (Colossians 3:19).  That's hard to do when emotions are running high.  But it is necessary for a win-win result.  So, the trick is not to become so steamed in the first place (Ephesians 4:26). 
Ro and I are finally learning not to allow a disagreement to intensify into a full blown argument.  We hold fast to the belief that with prayer in the mix a winning solution will show itself.  (Relating to this, read my blog Doing Just the Opposite)
To really, really listen to his wife's heart is a learned skill for most of us men.  It's that way for a lot of women, too.  But one who wins relies on being able to resolve conflict without tearing  the other down (Romans 12:18).  A man who win does this with all his heart.
Listen to three of my eight minute radio shows:

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