Marriage - Dealing With Differences

by Julia Solomon - Date: 2008-09-30 - Word Count: 639 Share This!

Each person is an individual; and, as such, no two people can reasonably be expected to agree on everything. Being able to recognize this as a fact-of-life is one of the most important signs of maturity. It is also the first step in learning how to effectively resolve differences.

If you think about it, you probably know many people who do not have that level of maturity. Even though it affects every area of life, it can quickly spell "disaster" in a marriage! You may know someone who, due to flaws in his or her upbringing, always has to "have his own way." It may be someone who always had and did whatever he wanted as a child, and became older without growing up, still asserting his entitlement over "getting his way."

It may be someone who had to fight for everything that he had, and even as an adult sees any differences as a threat to "his rights." Or it may be someone who was spoiled, with "his way" never being challenged by anyone. While such a person can learn how to respectfully acknowledge differences, and learn how to compromise, it all depends on the willingness of that person.

Fortunately, difficulties in a marriage are not always to such an extreme. Perhaps you and your spouse did not fully acknowledge your differences in the early stages of your relationship; or perhaps you felt that time and love would solve the problem.

While effective communication is essential in resolving this type of problem, respect for each other's differences and the motivation to reach a solution are also necessary.

As differences come about primarily from a person's background and upbringing, there can be many or few, minor or serious. But whether the subject is a matter of a minor disagreement or something of a very serious nature, getting the hang of resolving differences before they become matters of confrontation is the most important factor.

In other words, what the issue is not nearly as relevant as what you do about it. Whether you and your spouse are disagreeing on something as tiny as where to hang your towels in your bathroom, or something of large proportion such as whether or not your sixteen-year-old is ready to get a driver's license, learning how to resolve differences is the deciding factor between reaching conclusions which both spouses can happily live with or allowing every difference to be a power-struggle of who wins and who loses. The fact of the matter is that in a marital relationship, if differences are settled by power-struggles, everyone loses.

If this has become a problem in your marriage, you may be wondering how it can work. There are two basic manners in which differences can be resolved-- by compromise, or by "agreeing to disagree."

In most cases, you will find that compromise is indeed the best solution. This way, a conclusion is reached which both persons can be relatively comfortable with. In some instances, however, agreeing to disagree is the only viable solution. The reason why it is most beneficial is that it eliminates power struggles and promotes respect between both people.

Although many people fail to grasp this fact, mainly due to their upbringing or popular trends, "fighting" is most definitely not an unavoidable, par-for-the-course part of any relationship, including marriage. The fact of the matter is that most arguments can be stopped in their tracks by setting yourself to the task of learning effective communication and how to resolve your differences through compromise and agreeing to disagree.

It is simply not necessary for any disagreement to escalate into a "fight"-- nor is it healthy! It causes more problems than were there to begin with, and diminishes the respect between the two individuals. Learning how to resolve differences is not only essential-- it is also possible!

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