Saturday / July 16 / 2011
6 Reasons why no one ever wins an argument
To illustrate, allow me to share a personal story. One evening about three years into our marriage, I was getting ready to go to a meeting at church. One of us said something that hurt the other’s feelings and before we knew it, we were fully engaged in a heated argument. When we couldn’t seem to find any more words to hurl at each other, I swiped my arm across the top of the dresser, pushing everything onto the floor.
Without saying a word, he looked me dead in the eye and proceeded to empty the top of the night stand. I responded by promptly marching into the bathroom and clearing all FIVE shelves of toiletries onto the floor.
Oh yes… we were a sight! It was then I glanced at the clock, realized it was time to go be holy, and left.
Lesson learned? No one ever wins an argument. Here’s why:
(1) Someone always gets hurt. If you fight to the death, you will undeniably (and possibly irreversibly) wound his heart.
(2) You demean your lover. Forcing the issue of how right you are can only prove how insignificant, unimportant, and under-valued he is.
(3) You further the divide. By pushing him to the other side of the lake, you make it more and more difficult to find common ground. And I guarantee the divide will show itself in your sex life as well.
(4) You trade your best player to the opposing team. You force lack of unity, game plan and team camaraderie. Instead, you foster scheming for the rematch.
(5) You absolutely cannot take steps forward. Winning will not advance your relationship, it will only advance your ability to say, “me, me, me!”
(6) Most importantly, you win nothing! If you think you win bragging rights for “being right”, consider what that means. Most often, it means you get to rub your partner’s face in how wrong he is (the natural side effect of how right you are). Your victory leaves him feeling hurt, worthless, stupid and weak. Good job – you WON! (sarcasm intended).
The one-upping Skip-n-I demonstrated that evening didn’t win either of us anything, except a big mess to clean and wasted time which could have been spent doing what we love to do most: hang out with each other.
When I sheepishly arrived home a couple hours later, feeling like a complete idiot, Skip greeted me at the door with a knowing smile. I could see that in my absence, he had cleaned the entire mess (and bonus, threw out some expired cough syrup).
Arguing is not only normal and healthy, it’s necessary for the survival of any couple. The key is knowing BEFORE things get heated up, that it’s not a competition. No one person “wins” an argument. It’s only a win if it’s done together, and that takes compromise.
NOTE: This post is about why no one every “wins” an argument. Stay tuned for more posts about Learning the Art of Arguing. Believe me, there’s much more to say!