My husband and I disagree and I’m sure you and yours do too.
Sometimes our disagreements don’t feel like a huge deal and other times they do.
If I could sum up the negative feelings and what I sense when we have of our more serious disagreements, the ones that feel like a big deal, it’s this; it doesn't feel like we are on the same team.
Disagreements cause stress and strain on any relationship. But in marriage, it’s crucial to maintain that sense of having the other as your teammate especially when you disagree.
In the multitude of disagreements we’ve experienced in our marriage, we’ve been able to maintain the sense of being on the same team by employing these 3 guidelines.
1. Focus on the issue
When something is important and matters deeply, it’s easy to shift our focus to the other person when there is a disagreement. We get angry, we don’t feel heard, we don't feel like what we think or what we want matters. Our focus shifts from the issue that we are disagreeing about to one another and it all goes downhill from there.
We are both opinionated and articulate and can quickly shift the focus from the issue to one another which takes us from zero to sixty in no time at all. I had a therapist recommend that when my husband and I disagree, we take three pieces of paper.
He gets a pieces of paper to stand on, I get a piece of paper to stand on and we write the issue on the other piece and place it in front of us.
It gives us a visual reminder that the other person is not the issue. It gives us a visual reminder that we are standing next to each other, on the same team, approaching the issue and trying to solve it.
Stay focused on the issue that you don’t agree about, not the other person.
2. Don’t talk about him to your girlfriends
This doesn't mean don't talk about your disagreement.
We all need our people and we all need our spaces to talk. But avoid talking about him specifically.
Talk about the issue, talk about what you disagree on, talk about how it’s making you feel. But avoid talking about him. It can become a slippery slope when we bring our spouse into the conversation.
Play it safe and talk about the issues and talk about yourself instead of him.
3. Remind each other that you are on the same team
More than verbally reminding one another, do something that will remind you that you are on the same team.
Maybe you’ve come to a conclusion or a compromise, maybe you’ve decided to take a break and revisit the issue tomorrow, but do something together that will remind you that you’re on the same team.
We’ve done everything from playing catch, going on a bike ride, building a table to going to trivia night after disagreements.
Physically engaging in some activity that requires team work helps remind us that we are indeed on the same team even when we do disagree.