…is a load of nonsense. Of course, no two people on earth are going to agree on everything, but the term ‘argument’ has some clear connotations:
Argument: an exchange of diverging or opposite views, typically a heated or angry one. Also known as a quarrel, disagreement, squabble, fight, dispute, clash, feud.
I’ve heard it said, a number of times that you can’t tell a relationship’s strength until you’ve “gone through stuff”, “argued”, “had a fight” etc etc, but from the beginning when we met, I really couldn’t see myself arguing with my now husband, Aaron. It wasn’t that I was completely blinded with love walking around with googly eyes (okay it probably was partly that), it’s just that neither of us had the nature to be aggressive and to be honest, neither of us could be bothered! We’ve been married almost 7 months now (wow!) and together for about 2 years (hey Aaron, we just missed our 2 year anniversary of getting together – 2nd March? hahaa!) & yes, unfortunately, we haven’t kept to that ‘we’ll never argue’ ideal, but, and I want to stress this, we have learned that it is possible to have a relationship without arguing and I totally believe that it was never God’s design that we raise our voices, storm out of the room or simply be rude to the person we love, (1 Corinthians 13) yes, maybe you are honest enough to voice your opinion without restraints, but that’s not love.
Aaron and I have strived to love each other the way God has intended us to, it’s not always easy, but it’s definitely not that complicated either. From the beginning of our relationship, we set our standard, not listening to anyone else’s view or experience but simply looking at the Bible and how our Father commanded us to love another. I wanted to share a few of our little standards, not because we’re now perfect at it, but I truly believe that because so early in our relationship we set these as definite no-go areas, it’s helped us stamp out silly, petty drama that would purely be a distraction from the people God wants us to be. Like I said, we just can’t be bothered, neither of us enjoy the drama. So here goes:
1. We do not raise our voices. For me this is often a tricky one as when I get emotional, everything tends to escalate and I honestly do not mean to shout but it somehow just… happens. Nonetheless, as this is a standard we set, a gentle reminder from Aaron, no matter how much it hurts my pride, quickly helps me turn down the volume. “Jen, please don’t raise your voice at me”. It’s not that we don’t want to have freedom to express ourselves, its just you can’t shout at people whenever you feel upset, it’s not socially acceptable, I wouldn’t do it at work so I won’t do it at home. It’s disrespectful and rude. (Preaching to myself here, trust me!)
2. We won’t leave a room without resolving a disagreement. I’m all in favour of getting space if you need it, I totally understand that & this never used to be a rule for us. I would happily leave the room and climb into bed (as if I was going to sleep lol!) but it just proved to be a waste of time. Eventually I’d go back into whichever room he was in and we’d just continue. Either that, or mid-argument he would turn around and start doing something else, fiddling with something, or clearing up. It used to frustrate me so much. Once again, it’s just rude, and love is not rude (1 Corinthians 13:5). To leave the room when someone is talking to you? I would neveeeer have done that to my parents, so its definitely not something we wanted to bring into our household. This is one we’ve mastered, we don’t do this anymore. 🙂 (huge sense of accomplishment!)
3. We don’t go to bed angry. This is similar to the above, and it’s taken straight from the Bible. (Ephesians 4:26) We’ll talk it out until it’s done, not really because ‘you don’t know when your last day could be’ in a weird superstitious way, more just because, who wants things to drag out into the next day anyway? Because we’ve never done this, it’s been easy to stick to. Sometimes it means late nights, but it’s always better than waking up and having to continue. Once again the running theme: we just can’t be bothered. Arguing is long, tiring and no fun.
4. There’s no name calling. Ever. Sounds straight forward, but you’d be surprised to how many people casually would use the most ridiculous words when speaking to one another “you’re so annoying”, “you’re behaving like an idiot”. Pause. Just because you’ve slipped the word ‘like’ in there, technically making it a simile not a direct insult, this doesn’t make it okay. Come on, we’re meant to be there to build each other up, not lose our heads in the heat of the moment and start tearing each other apart. I’ve learnt as well there’s some words that’ll effect Aaron more than me, and vice versa. It can be such an attack on his manhood or can make me feel really insecure and vulnerable. Who wants to make their love feel like that? Not me.
5. Quick to apologize. Quick to forgive. Lastly, we stand by this little motto. Once you’ve wronged someone, just say sorry. Not in a dismissive “I can’t be bothered to hear about how upset you are so let me say sorry to shut you up” kind of way, but a genuine apology once you’ve understood how the other is feeling. A soft, sincere apology can work wonders to put out a fire. On the flip side, once you’ve received that apology, accept it. If it’s genuine, you have no reason to continue to hammer them with guilt for the sake of making them feel worse. Ergh. That’s just not loving. Accept they’re sorry, forgive, move on.
And that’s how Aaron and I have managed to eliminate most drama from our marriage. I’m so glad we put these things in place, especially now we’re going to be adding a baby to the mix! We’re aiming to out-love one another, not just in romantic ways, or when things are good, but by exercising self-control in disagreements. Course we’re not experts at it, but we have a happy home, less time for drama and more time for fun and games hehe!