Have a Messy Relationship? How to Argue in a Healthy Way As a Couple

Let’s face it. We are all one big mess. And when we try our hand at relationships we make an even bigger mess most of the time. With how everyone grows up differently with different views, parents, backgrounds, and how much baggage we carry, it’s kind of surprising we get along at all in a relationship.

But relationships are messes worth making. In the mess, we find true intimacy. We find out who the other person really is and who we really are. We find out what makes us tick, makes us angry, what not to do and how to cheer someone up. In a way, we need a mess to clean up to have true intimacy. We can’t hide ourselves when we are a mess. We can’t always put on a fake smile and put our best foot forward in a real intimate relationship. Not for long anyways. It takes almost a year to really know someone because we can’t hide our messes forever.

And let’s be honest. If we had everything figured out, why would we need Jesus?

His Grace empowers us to move forward when we aren’t perfect. Let that empower you in your relationship and in your life.

I’m far from perfect but I’ve learned how to have conflict in a healthy way in any relationship. Whether it be a coworker, a girlfriend, a sibling, friend etc..

Healthy relationships are NOT the absence of problems, but instead are how we handle problems together when they come up. Conflict and hurt feelings are inevitable in any relationship. It’s how we handle them that determines a relationship. Having a messy relationship means conflict in viewpoints, how things should be handled or addressed or just how things should go. Two completely different people sometimes means a lot of friction. But how we treat each other when we rub each other the wrong way is what really matters.

Questions to ask yourself when arguing or trying to get a point across:

Am what I saying making him/her feel valued or devalued?

Our words either build up or tear down. There is no middle.

Am I putting her/him down with the point I’m trying to get across?

You can’t always be right and be in a relationship. Sometimes you need to swallow your pride to be in a relationship with someone. Which one do you value more; Being right or being in relationship? Even if you “know you’re right” is it really worth ruining an evening or relationship over it?

Are you hearing what they ACTUALLY said?

What we hear and what people say are sometimes off. For example, my girlfriend can say “Dave, I don’t feel like talking right now. Can we just talk about this later?” When I’m trying to get something off my chest about how I feel.

In that moment, I can personally hear “Dave, I don’t care what you have to say. I’m more important and I dont’ respect you enough to stop what I’m doing to listen to you”.

Did she say that? No. But I heard it. My past and how I’m wired triggered what I heard verses what she actually said. Ask questions to clarify so you heard what they actually meant. Repeat back what you think they said and see if you heard right. It’ll save you a lot of trouble.

Don’t call people names or tell them who they are in a negative light.

Name calling is uncalled for. It’s immature and shows a lack of discipline or emotional intelligence.

Calling someone “Negative” is labeling someone and who they are as a person.That’s not your job. They aren’t negative. Their actions were negative.

Let people know how their actions made you feel. Don’t attack who they are and name call if you want to be in relationship with them. It’s a recipe for disaster.

Are you telling them how they made you feel?

Guys don’t like this one. “Feelings” isn’t a manly word in today’s world. But if you want healthy conflict/arguing instead of unhealthy it’s imperative. Telling them how they made you feel is a healthy way of communicating verses attacking them verbally.

Did you say sorry first?

Leaders go first. That’s you men. Whoever says they’re sorry first doesn’t mean the other person won. It means you are a leader and leaders go first. This isn’t about competition. It’s about relationship. Who is the bigger person? The person who said sorry first and owns what they did wrong, who doesn’t expect a sorry back at all.

We don’t apologize to get one back. We apologize because we are sorry. Even if our actions were 2% of the problem in our own eyes. We say sorry for our 2% and we do it with humility. It’s not about me, it’s about the other person.

Are we looking for God or what WE are getting out of relationship?

If you look for God in your relationships, you will always have something to be thankful for.

In the book “Relationships, A mess worth making” the author says “The most dangerous aspect of your relationship is not your weakness but your delusions of strength”. In our Weakness God is strong and for that I am thankful for. Relationships aren’t a to do list. There is intimacy we can’t get anywhere else when we really dive in with one another.

The book goes on to say “Skills and techniques appeal to us because they promise that relational problems can be fixed by tweaking our behavior without altering the best of our hearts. But the Bible says something very different. It says that Christ is the only real hope for relationships because only he can dig deep enough to address the core motivations and desires of our hearts.” Fix the heart and you fix the problem. Don’t treat the symptoms, treat the problem. And the problem with us is when our heart isn’t right, our actions follow. And when I’m not receiving Jesus’s grace on a daily basis I’m not the best guy to date.

Check out my other blog: “Why do girls love guys that are mean to them?”

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