4 Tools for Keeping Discussions from Becoming Arguments

Ashley Logsdon shares 4 ways you can keep conversations calm

I’m excited to introduce one of our newest contributors to Confessions of a Terrible Husband, Ashley Logsdon. Ashley connected with our post last week and is here to continue the conversation to help you and me keep conversations from escalating into arguments. You’ll see more about Ashley at the end of the post. Please welcome Ashley to Confessions of a Terrible Husband!
4 Tools for Keeping Discussions from Becoming ArgumentsLast week, Nick shared how to have an argument-free marriage. My first inclination is that a marriage without disagreements isn’t a very deep one. However…I then read deeper into it and realized that the issue at hand is not about disagreeing – it’s about the word “argument”.

If you look up the definition of “argument”, it says this:

ar·gu·ment

ˈärɡyəmənt/

noun

an exchange of diverging or opposite views, typically a heated or angry one.
a reason or set of reasons given with the aim of persuading others that an action or idea is right or wrong.

Well, that does it. I sure don’t want to argue in my household – what that states is there is clearly a win-lose situation.

An argument is closed; a discussion is not.

When you discuss, you exchange views and opinions while flowing back and forth in conversation. You allow for insights and growth, and it is a two-way street.

A discussion is not a monologue.

An argument, however, might as well be, because in an argument, you are simply arguing your case, not necessarily hearing anything else (or the wrong side, since we all know when we argue, we are the correct one…or is that just me?)

In my work with helping families connect with one another in deeper ways, I focus a lot on understanding personality styles and how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us.

Understanding how we are all uniquely wired is a critical component in figuring out how to communicate in a way that the other person can resonate with.

For example, although I am happy to just get to the end result and “fix it,” my husband wants to talk it out a bit. His healing and understanding is more due to the process of me listening and investing in him enough to hear him out vs. just jumping to the magic pill solution.

So, how do we approach discussions?

    1. Remember what makes them tick. I love the DISC Personality profiles and share about the gifts and fears of each style. When we play on a fear a person has, they immediately go on the defensive. Any strength, when overused, can become a weakness. And when you do or say something that triggers a fear, like a loss of security, criticism, or they feel like they are taken advantage of, then you will see their weaknesses rear their ugly heads in a way that definitely creates a losing battle. We all have ways in which we are motivated – positively and negatively. The more you openly discuss this with your spouse, and learn what shuts them down or gets them riled up, the more you are equipped to communicate in a way that heals instead of hurts.
    2. When you feel so mad, that you want to ROAR… My sweet daughter Ellie just did a video on how to deal with being mad, and the song is super catchy and an easy practice for all of us – major kudos to Daniel Tiger for teaching my girls some excellent tools for dealing with daily life issues. Bottom line, if you are angry enough to say something you will regret, take a step back and a deep breath in. Don’t run away from a fight – simply communicate that you need a breather to think clearly, and commit to coming back to a discussion instead. Our feelings are powerful and fully valid. Yet when we want to communicate our feelings to others, we need to allow for a balance between heart and head and use some wisdom with how to communicate them in a way that doesn’t attack.
    3. your feelings are yours alone. no matterTake center stage, and own it. After you take that breather, allow for a moment to speak your piece, and let your spouse do the same. Don’t monologue it out, and don’t attack. Explain what you feel – not what they did. Explain your own emotions without playing the blame game. And then, shut up and let them do the same without defending anything. Remember that you have no power over someone’s feelings. Regardless of what emotions are brought up, you can share your feelings, and then make a conscious decision on whether you are going to allow those feelings to foster negativity or growth in your life. Feel it, voice it, and let it go. Choose to grow.
    4. Touch. When you feel emotionally distant, your body language will reflect it. When you make the physical effort to put down that wall, it’s amazing how much it works on your heart as well. Don’t stay on the defensive, but meet in the middle. Hold hands. While you work through the feelings going on within, make an effort to physically feel your spouse as well. Hold hands, play footsie, start and end with a hug (or something more….nothing like some make-up sex to really seal the connection!)

Disagreements should be a part of a marriage – it shows that you have two people with independent minds in the relationship, and growth comes from being able to learn something other than what we think in our own heads anyway!

On the wall in our kitchen I have scrawled this quote from the Dalai Lama:

Feel free to disagree.

But please, don’t let it become an argument.

What tools to you use to keep heated conversations from erupting into a forest fire?

Ashley Logsdon, a/k/a MamaRose is passionate about relationships and the amazing personalities that connect and inspire.

An insanely optimistic dreamer and implementer, Ashley is gung-ho to take life by the horns and learn from it…and coach others along the way!

Ashley works with families to challenge, inspire, and encourage a home life that is one they truly get excited about and can’t wait to not only get home to, but take on the world with.

Life is truly a grand adventure and Ashley wants to push you to move forward with the synergy of a family that is bonded together.

Utilizing personality profiles and living life beyond the box is Ashley’s foundation to showcase how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us.

You can find out more about Ashley or connect with her on her main site, www.MamaSaysNamaste.com.

 

Is an argument-free marriage possible?

Fawn Weaver shares her story of perspective

Is an agument-free marriage possible-Think back to your last argument with your spouse.

Almost without exception couples who have been married more than ten minutes will have at least one story where a discussion turned into an argument.

They said something they didn’t mean.

They focused more on being right than achieving or solving something together.

Or they don’t even remember what they were arguing about, but just remember arguing about something.

For some couples, we’re talking looking back a matter of hours. Others days, weeks, or months.

But as strange as it seems to terrible husbands like me, some couples have gone years or even decades without arguing.

Get this. They have “conversations” instead.

And not “air quotes” conversations. Actual, productive, calm, respectful conversations to resolve differences in opinions, goals, or plans, for the good of the marriage.

Sure, it’s normal to argue. But that doesn’t mean it should be accepted as part of “real life.”

Which is why eliminating arguments from my marriage, something we haven’t been completely successful at doing yet, is my next big focus on becoming a better husband and creating a marriage worth modeling.

The more I study, it seems as if one secret to having a marriage free from arguments is to have a marriage full of love, respect, and perspective.

Work those three concepts into your mind, body language, and words and you will be well on your way to reducing or eliminating arguments from your marriage.

You will treat “issues” differently. It will become less personal. Less emotional. More conversational.

Don’t take it from me, though. You can hear it straight from a great friend of the blog, Fawn Weaver, of the Happy Wives Club, (and the first guest on the Confessions of a Terrible Husband podcast), who recently shared her story of achieving an argument-free marriage in a Ted Talk.

She also has a brand-new book coming out called The Argument-Free Marriage: 28 Days to Creating the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted with the Spouse You Already Have, which I encourage you to check out, particularly because of the whole “spouse you already have” angle… because without that things could get pretty awkward over the next 28 days….so….

How does Fawn Weaver – the happy wife from The Happy Wives Club – keep arguments out of her marriage?

As you will see, she doesn’t give up her identity. She doesn’t give up her opinions. She doesn’t give up her hopes or dreams.

Her secret is a heavy dose of perspective. Here’s her talk. I’ll let her explain. Let me know what you think in the comments.

So what do you think?

Is it possible to have a marriage free from arguments?

Have you been able to reduce or eliminate arguments from your marriage?

What has worked best for you?

And once again, be sure to check out Fawn’s book and make the next 28 days the catalyst for an incredible marriage!

The reason your husband thinks you’re nagging him (that he will never admit…)

And 3 ways to help improve your communication from there.

The reason why your husband thinks you're nagging him (that he will never admit...)I recently sent an e-mail to the folks who subscribe to this blog asking them how I can better serve them.

I am planning a few webinars and wanted to make sure to cover the most important topics to them.

If you want to make sure you know when they will happen be sure you’re on my list.

You can sign up on the right-hand side of this page.

The responses were amazing.

Several people even replied to the e-mail to say hello, ask questions, or suggest topics.

I love connecting with folks who read this blog or listen to the podcast.

One reader asked a question I get from time to time that is near and dear to my heart, and I wanted to address it from my perspective right here, anonymously of course (and slightly edited to further protect her identity):

I also spent an entire episode of the Confessions of a Terrible Husband podcast following up on this, which you can hear here:

Here is her question:

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021: How Small Changes to how you Listen, Learn, and Love can Improve Your Relationship Fast.

Susie Miller shares lessons from her new book to help us improve our relationships in 30 days or less.

In this episode of the Confessions of a Terrible Husband podcast I talk with Susie Miller, author of the book Listen, Learn, Love: How to Dramatically Improve Your Relationships in 30 Days or Less, which is about how to develop the three important skills to improve your relationship fast.

Susie talks with me about listening well, learning about your spouse, and loving them in a way that promotes stronger relationships.

She shares stories from her personal life and book and talks about some pretty cool bonuses for folks who buy her book around the release date, so tune in for those details, too.

It’s a fun chat so be sure to check it out.  And also be sure to connect with Susie about her book, which you can find through the link at the top of the post, on Amazon, and pretty much every other retailer around!

I really enjoyed our chat and the book, which I read in less time than it takes to watch a baseball game on TV.

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