Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Christians Are Not Supposed to Argue, Right?

“Christians are not supposed to argue, right?” My wife, Kasi, and I have learned the benefit of healthy arguing in our marriage, but the truths I share below are not just for married couples. When it comes to knowing how to argue, these truths apply to all relationships.

One of the most practical ways to work on your marriage, friendships, or other relationships is by learning how to communicate well. A healthy relationship will allow you to have healthy conflict resolution. Basically, you’ll know how to argue well. Every solid relationship requires the art of arguing.

You may be thinking, Wait. Couples are not supposed to argue. After all, isn’t every day in marriage like an episode of The Bachelor, with helicopter rides, dinner on the beach, and your partner swooning over every word you say? Unfortunately, reality TV is far from reality, because in real life there are real couples, real friends, and real business relationships that have very real arguments. In fact, people in relationships who say they don’t argue typically fall into one of three categories:

  1. They’re lying.
  2. There is a bully. For example, in a marriage, when there is a bully in the house, very little arguing takes place. If one person is strongly dominant and the other is extremely passive, the reason they don’t argue is because one is a bully and the other won’t ever speak up for himself.
  3. Both people have completely given up on having a growing and maturing marriage or relationship. Sadly, in marriage people become functional roommates or partners, letting each other do his or her own thing, or they leave in search of something or someone who will make them happy. At one time, the relationship was easy, natural, and pleasant. However, they’ve come to realize it would take a lot of work to see the relationship grow and develop, so they give up on it. They just “go along to get along.”

But, for those who are willing to tell the truth and admit they argue, here are some healthy ways to do it:

You Must Care Enough to Argue

One of the worst feelings in the world is not caring enough to communicate your frustrations, letdowns, and needs. Couples and friends who don’t care enough to argue are probably close to giving up. Some of the most difficult statements to hear your spouse or friend say are “It doesn’t matter anymore. Do whatever you want. You just do your thing, and I’ll do mine.” At that point, unless something changes, you can be sure the end is near. In contrast, when you care, it means you want to do whatever it takes to resolve the issue. You’re willing to talk, disagree, and then make the necessary changes and sacrifices.

Arguing Well Is About Learning, Not Winning

When you listen to the needs, worries, and frustrations of the other person and learn how to serve each other better, then you have victory in an argument. There are times when you can win a debate and still lose in the long run. Relationships are about learning, not winning. When a disagreement takes place with healthy and mature communication, then sacrificial changes are made to show each other beautiful, unconditional love. That is true winning.

A Good Argument Involves Both People Talking and Both People Listening

A good argument is not one person doing all the talking while the other person does all the listening. That is called a lecture. Arguing well is one person talking while the other listens without interrupting. Then it becomes time for the talker to become the listener who avoids interrupting. Also, a good talker communicates with kindness, self-control, and humility. A good listener truly concentrates on what the other person is saying and isn’t distracted by thinking about his comeback.

Arguing Well Is Not Arguing About the Same Things Over and Over Again

If you’re continuing to argue about the same things, it means one or both of you are not listening or learning. It’s been said that the definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result. When disagreements come, we must communicate, listen, and make the necessary changes.

Argue for the Glory of God

Christian marriages are not about us as individuals or even as couples. Actually, they’re about something much bigger than us. According to Ephesians 5, marriage is the visual illustration God has given the world to show Christ’s relationship to His bride, the church. Our relationships preach a gospel message to the world; that truth alone makes marriage eternally important.

It’s necessary for us to ask ourselves this question often: What kind of message are my relationships preaching to a watching world? We must understand that our lives, our actions, and our relationships are designed by God to bring Him glory. When this is most important, then we’ll strive to live and love in a way that looks very similar to the way that Jesus lived and loved.

Excerpted from 9 Common Lies Christians Believe: And Why God’s Truth Is Infinitely Better. Copyright © 2019 by Shane Pruitt. Published by Multnomah, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

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