Ding, ding, ding! Put your gloves on for round 1!
It’s healthy to disagree. Why? Because nobody is 100% correct 100% of the time. Disagreement improves ideas, charts a new course or corrects an old one, and allows people to see their faults and to grow from them. The trick is to engage in conflict in productive ways.
That’s particularly true for married couples.
With us on our radio program to offer practical guidance for strengthening your marriage through disagreeing are Ron and Deb DeArmond, authors of the book Don’t Go to Bed Angry: Stay Up and Fight.
They say you can build communication bridges by learning to SPEAK:
S – See permission to speak.
P – Present the issue.
E – Explore solutions together.
A – Acknowledge what you hear.
K – Keep focused on the current issue.
They also teach boundaries for engaging in healthy conflict:
- Avoid arguing in front of your children.
- Never act out physically.
- No one is allowed to get in the car and drive off in the heat of the moment.
- Space is okay. A 15 minute time out, or 20 minutes, or overnight to think about the disagreement or to bring yourself back to a reasonable place, is acceptable. It allows you to be more purposeful and intentional about resolving your conflict.
- No name calling.
- No dragging up the past.
- Don’t throw around the word “divorce.”
They also have a good answer for the question, “Is it okay to go to bed angry?” That inquiry is usually in reference to Ephesians 4:26 which says, “Do not let the sun go down on your anger.” Ron and Deb say that verse is often misunderstood. What does it really mean?
Ron and Deb DeArmond will answer that question and others, as well as help couples stuck in unhealthy conflict get unstuck, on our radio broadcast “Engaging Conflict in a Productive Way.” Join us on your local radio station, online, on iTunes, via Podcast, or on our free phone app.
And why don’t you take a few moments to try our free marriage assessment online tool? It will help you quickly determine what’s working well in your relationship and areas where you may need some improvement.
This broadcast highlights why Focus on the Family exists. Every month, our counseling team fields over 4,000 calls, of which about 1,500 are related to marriages in conflict. If you can, support our ministry and help us be a cup of cold water to these couples.
Consider participating in our “Friends of Focus on the Family” program by becoming a monthly partner. When you do, I’ll send you a free copy of Ron and Deb’s book Don’t Go to Bed Angry: Stay Up and Fight as a way of saying thank you. To make your pledge, or for more information, visit our website or call 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459).