4 Tips For Dealing With Differences
No two people are exactly the same even if they have “everything” in common. So it isn’t surprising when disagreements flare up.
Acknowledging that we are different, and accepting our differences, is one of the first steps in resolving conflict.
Unfortunately not everyone thinks this way.
Do you know people who always to have their own way?
Maybe it’s because of how they were raised, always getting/doing whatever they wanted. They were never challenged, and so became “spoiled”, carrying this sense of entitlement into their adult relationships.
Do you know people who had to struggle and fight for everything they had or wanted growing up? And now as adults, they feel threatened when differences come up.
What often happens with couples is they don’t see their differences early on, or if they do, they think love will fix everything.
Although we talk a LOT about communication around here – and communication is essential when dealing with differences – of equal importance is respect.
Do we respect our spouse’s differences? Or do we resent them?
Do we desire to work things out? Or are we a stubborn child who holds onto our own ways of thinking and living, demanding that we get what we want?
Here’s a question for you: How grateful are you for the differences you see in your spouse?
We are different. And when you think about it, this really is something to be thankful for because these differences offer a richer perspective on life.
We are different because of our upbringing and life experiences. We broaden each other’s world. We bring new dimensions of meaning to situations and to life in general.
But as all is too often the case, small differences lead to big differences, which lead to heated confrontation and serious disunity within a marriage, causing people to end the relationship because of “irreconcilable differences.”
Here’s the truth: Although differences are important, they are not as important as how we handle them. The “how” is more important than the “what.”
We can choose to have mutual respect and discuss the situation like mature adults where everyone wins, or we can act like a child and settle the matter through a power struggle where everyone loses.
There are two ways to settle problems and disagreements: 1) Compromise, 2) Decide to “agree to disagree.”
As a rule of thumb, always strive for compromise so that everyone is comfortable and has a say in the outcome.
There are times when our differences are of such a nature that we must simply agree to disagree. Doing this extinguishes power struggles and facilitates an environment of mutual respect.
So when it comes to differences, here are four tips in dealing with them so that they strengthen and not weaken your marriage:
1) Be grateful
2) Be respectful
4) Agree to disagree
Differences do not have to become disagreements that result in arguments and fights. The last thing you want is more marital problems, erosion of respect, and an unhappy marriage.
Today I encourage you to see differences in a new light, and strive to resolve them in a new way, for when you do this, you and your spouse will be mad about marriage again!