Differences of Opinion


from Life Is What You Make It, 1998, Adele Tartaglia

It is to be expected that in any relationship, there will differences in behaviors, handling procedures, beliefs, and family patterns. From these often arise a variety of challenging situations that you are at choice to decide how to handle when they come up.

It is more efficient and easier on you and the relationship in general if you decide up front how you will handle differences of opinion.

One successful way has been to shelve the problem until both of you have calmed down, and had time to diffuse the charge you may have built up against your partner, and the negative energy surrounding the situation.  The problem isn’t going anywhere and neither are you. You have made a commitment to this relationship and that involves settling any conflicting opinions and situations in a calm, loving and respectful way.  Bitterness, recriminations, blaming, and throwing your partner’s personality traits or past decisions in their face have no place at any time in a relationship.

Another method used is to decide up front that the partner who knows the most about the subject at hand, will be the one to have the last word, with the provision that the other partner has full allowance to air any and all opinions and suggestions. Two heads are still better than one and we are all learning all the time no matter how much expertise we believe we may have in any particular area. But if one of you knows computers really well, why not do the logical thing and agree to take the direction of the knowledgeable partner in the matter. Think of how much arguing and fighting you can avoid.

A third way which really overlaps all other ways, is to realize when sticky situations come up, that one or both of you has had a button pushed, and had an issue come up for them. If you can remember to honor your partner’s path and feelings enough to support them when the issue pops up and they go “insane” you can immediately switch to being their loving and supportive partner instead of their adversary.

This is putting the relationship first and your partner’s feelings, which are up for them, before your own which you can afford to do since you are not sitting in reaction mode and they are. It is the only way to have a peaceful, long-term relationship and will build enormous respect and tender feelings toward the relinquishing partner who is acting out of grace. This is included in the Marriage Commitment, which you are making to each other every day.

The rule is who ever is the most sane at the time, gives way and becomes the support for the other person’s issue. I always joke with my couples that rule number one is only one person can go insane at a time. When both parties start screaming at each other and insisting they are right and the other is wrong, everyone looses, especially the children. Obviously this cannot go only one way in a marriage without a burn out. You take turns and before you know it, each of you has resolved baggage you’ve been carrying around for years, with the cooperation and backup of your partner.
Nothing will build trust and friendship like this practice.

If you have the tools to delete whatever is bothering you, then coach each other through that process and the entire issue will disappear out of your lives.

The last way is to take it to God in prayer, release it and let it go, and see what solution He comes up with for you.

List your preference below for settling disputes now.

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