The Art of Argument in Marriage


The first big fight is truly a shocker. Regardless of disagreements and spats before marriage, the real knock-down-drag-out usually comes after the honeymoon. Housekeeping has begun, meals have been burned, the alarm clock has failed to ring, and then the garbage has piled up. Courtship was never like this.

In every marriage there should be Ground rules for Fighting.

Make allowances for circumstances

Maybe she’s tired. Or sick. Someone chewed him out at the office. She’s worried about her family. His friend didn’t invite him to play golf.

In The Home:  Laboratory of Life, John Drakeford describes three types of emotional discords in marriage: dated emotions, displaced emotions, drained emotions. Dated emotions are those that are normal in childhood, but are inadequate for adults. Displaced ones are illustrated in the proverbial story of the husband, chastised by his boss, who goes home and yells at his wife. Drained emotions we know about that. Pent-up feeling must be released. Talking, crying, and sobbing are safety valves well understood by the average newlywed.

Declare no winners

Never, never should a winner be declared in the battle of husband and wife.

In the words of Ogden Nash,

                To keep your marriage brimming

                With love in the loving cup.

                Whenever you’re wrong, admit it

                When you’re right, shut up

Always bring your argument to conclusion

We are admonished in Ephesians 4:26 “Let no sun go down on your wrath.” So when you go to bed, be sure the argument is put to rest too.

 That means bring it to a conclusion. End it. Get it out of the way. Kill it. Fights that go on and on and on cause ulcers and headaches and sleepless nights and bad days at the office.  Don’t wait until you go to bed; end it quickly. Never leave an argument dangling.

Be Honest

Be sure why you are angry. Level with your spouse. Are you mad at the traffic or the situation at hand? Say what you are really feeling. “I’m worried about that insurance policy you forgot to pay” instead of I’m disgusted with you for being so unorganized.”

Problems are brought out in the open, where they can be dealt with. Constructive arguing can bring about a release from tension. It can clear muddles minds. It can help give significance to the lull.

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