Choose Your Battles

“Sometimes, silence is the best way to win an argument.” – Jorge P. Guerrero

What do you argue about? With whom? What is the outcome?

All good questions to begin looking at this.

Now there are arguments that are based on facts. They can be easily checked, and they are not open to much opinion. You do however have to fact-check and trust and regard the facts as legitimate and trustworthy from someone respected. These arguments go on all the time and they can arouse heated banter back and forth. They can engender strong feelings and can alienate you from another person if you violently disagree. This happens with the areas of politics or religion or other firmly held beliefs.

Often you hear people say, let’s not talk about those two issues.

Often one of the parties is usually on safer ground and has facts that are convincing and bear out as truth. There are however super salesmen who can convince others of almost anything, no matter what the truth is.

Now the more important side of all of this has to be within family systems and then this gets translated into couples.

Growing up we all learn who is the boss. The parent is powerful and never seen as wrong when we are children. This then becomes how we relate to authority figures and others who hold some power over us.

When a parent is really tough and dominant the child may never be able to challenge anyone in authority. These people are docile and good employees who do not cause problems, following whatever that boss demands.

When in an intimate relationship the whole picture changes.

Here there are strong emotions and feelings get in the way.

Coming from two backgrounds automatically means you have different ideas and ways of behaving as part of who you are.

In the beginning of these relationships everything is honky-dory. All sweetness and light and overlooking whatever the differences may be. Sex and love cover up and mask a great deal.

Whatever glimpses or signs that are there are usually brushed aside or not heeded until later. Then when the ugly head is reared the sex and love may not be enough to get through it and move on.

The pattern of behavior that each partner comes with is usually the one that will be there forever.

You always hear about the couple who broke up after many years because he left the cap off of the toothpaste.

Don’t laugh; those little actions can add up or become large in a partner’s tolerance level.

The things couples argue over and disagree about can be anything. No one on the outside has to understand it; it just IS.

Maybe one has to always be right. Maybe one is the decision maker, maybe one is more accomplished or successful in the outside world. Maybe… fill in the blank.

The problem then becomes is there any way for both to save face, feel valued, or see the other’s side of things? Maybe yes or maybe no.

That will determine where the relationship ends up.

Now some couples have one person who says what goes and the other is the, yes, dear one. Maybe he is the father authority figure and she likes that. Or is just used to it.

If the differences get too heated it can cause BIG problems. In some it can lead to violence. That can be acted out inside the family or outside. Either way the loser of the battle feels badly, and the winner also feels badly that they caused hurt; usually but not always.

There is no problem having different ideas or ways of behaving if the differences are aired and dealt with in a respectful manner. There is no problem if they are really nasty and yelling or cursing is involved IF they can then talk about it and move on. Some differences can mean change or at least laughed about or ignored with time.

Some people use conflict just to have attention or to feel something in the relationship even though it is not positive, it is feeling, and a connection of sorts.

So, look at the battles you choose, and see if the conflict is really important and if things can be better as a result.

If not; wave a white flag!

“Discussion is an exchange of knowledge, argument is an exchange of ignorance.” – Robert Quillen

Who did you last have an argument with? What happened? Would you do it again?

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