Couples don’t always agree, and that’s okay. Sometimes there are big arguments, and lots of respectful discussions, some compromise, and time to think about things afresh. But in any successful relationship where there is mutual love and respect, people will have disagreements. We don’t need to have the same opinion all the time, and remembering this is good.
I need to start this by saying that I know there are many couples out there who are facing really big arguments. They’re feeling overwhelmed and may need outside help, like couples counselling to get through it.
But there are people who worry that every small disagreement will result in divorce or breaking-up. This belief isn’t correct and can cause problems.
I Always Used To Worry
I was having dinner with some friends, and most of us were fairly recently married. We were talking about the advice we would like to give our ‘unmarried selves’ if we could travel back in time.
One of my friends said ‘I would tell myself that disagreement doesn’t equal divorce. I thought if we disagreed, even over something small, there was a problem. But I have learned to see it as a healthy thing.’
My wife and I still don’t see eye to eye on everything
This comment reminded me about an important relationship dynamic.
My wife and I do agree on the things we feel are important to us, like faith, the importance of friends and family, and values, for example. We wouldn’t be married otherwise. However, my wife and I still don’t see eye to eye on everything.
My Wife and I Disagree
Let me put it like this; we disagree on how to decorate our home. Our interior design ideas aren’t a million miles away from each other, but there are disagreements. Sometimes this results in compromise, sometimes one of us needs to let our idea go. (Read Why Compromise Can Sometimes Be The Worst Decision)
I could also say that we have different views on how to play sports with friends. I want to go all out, everyone tries their best, and some win and some lose, (I lose more than I care to admit). She wants it to be a bit more fun and less competitive. This has caused some problems, and we both seem unable to back down on this point.
We sometimes see things differently
When we read the Bible together, we don’t always agree. Thankfully, we often do on the ‘big’ issues, but we don’t always on every individual passage. We sometimes see things differently.
These examples, as well as others, can cause some tension. But disagreeing well, and not letting it become an argument as much as possible, is healthy.
Why Is Disagreeing Healthy?
Just to make it clear and say again, I’m not talking about arguments where hurtful and unhelpful things are said. (Read How To Have A Good Argument) But learning to appreciate disagreements can be good because it shows:
- An appreciation that no relationship is easy
- You feel safe sharing your opinion
- You respect each other.
No Relationship Is Easy
No romantic relationship, no friendship, no family relationship, no work relationship, or any relationship, is always easy. There are times when you feel let down, get annoyed at each other, and don’t get on.
If we tried to stop all disagreements, then we would just be trying to get people to do what we want, or be forcing them to agree with us all the time. That isn’t the sign of a healthy relationship, but signals control or fear.
Realising there will be disagreements signals that we accept relationships aren’t always easy and take a bit of work. People are different, and no long-lasting couples experience smooth sailing all the time.
You Feel Safe Sharing Your Opinion
If people share their opinion and feelings with you, it means they trust you enough to do it.
In romantic relationships, trust is so important. When we feel scared or unable to share, then there’s a problem. It may be that we fear a disagreement will lead to a break-up. But if you trust each other and know you’re willing to keep putting the work in, you will feel safe to share, even if you disagree.
You Respect Each Other
It’s easy to get on with people who agree with you. It’s easy to have a good time with someone that says ‘yes’ to all the things you say. But it’s hard when people disagree with you, unless there is mutual respect.
Our aim can’t be to forget these differences, but to respect each other
In dating relationships, and even more so in marriage, you will see eye to eye on lots of things and enjoy spending time together. It’s the reason why you’re a couple. But you’re still two different people, with different personalities, and different views.
Our aim can’t be to forget these differences, but to respect each other, even when there is a disagreement. Respect means that disagreements will not lead to disaster because you’re drawn to each other and appreciate each other because of who you are. It’s not just because you always agree or never argue. (Read After Your Arguments, You Don’t Walk Out)
Imagine if we remembered that disagreements don’t mean disaster or divorce. Remembering that relationships aren’t easy but take work, feeling safe, and having mutual respect, means that disagreements can be put into the right perspective without them evolving into a big argument or fear.
Do you think disagreements are a good thing? Comments welcomed below.