You can actually disagree without fighting. Find out how you can oppose one another but still maintain a harmonious relationship, particularly with your spouse.
In this article, you'll read:
- Differences and authenticity in a relationship
- 3 Levels of strategies in building a harmonious relationship
- The importance of expanding compassion
"Agree to disagree."
Do you find yourself saying that to your husband, or at least mumbling it to yourself once discussions turn heated? Do you avoid sticky topics like politics and religion at home to avoid getting into an argument? Finally, do you defer to your partner's parenting style just to keep the peace at home?
Or are you the type to nag your partner into submission or demand him to "get on the same page" with you?
It is human nature to be attracted to someone who shares the same beliefs and interests as us. But what if, after marriage, you find that your spouse does not have the same viewpoint as yours?
Is there really no middle ground when it comes to disagreements in relationships? Do all disagreements have to end in arguments? Is it possible to disagree and co-exist?
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Humans are all unique to one another. No matter what kind of relationship you have with someone, your differences in many aspects of your lives are unavoidable. It includes differences in beliefs, opinions, points of view, and other parts of life.
Furthermore, even a husband and wife could differ in culture, religion, tradition, and political affiliation. These are the obvious differences you knew even before you got married.
You could be someone who denies your genuine desire just to avoid disappointment and argument. On the other hand, you could also be someone who is quite vocal about how you feel and speak your mind. Whichever you are, keep in mind that your actions, whether you are vocal or self-denial, has a cost.
If you prefer to go to the route of self-denial, you could have a harmonious relationship with your partner on the surface. However, you cannot escape the fact that you may feel isolated, inauthentic, invisible, and stifled deep down.
Understanding how you differ from one another is essential in building a harmonious relationship with your partner. In that way, you could know and understand a part of where your partner is coming from.
The value of one's authenticity
A married couple should know how to consider the essence of authenticity and that being opposite is just normal. You do not have to be similar in all ways and have a perfect relationship. Despite being unique, both parties just have to be true to one another and be perfect for each other.
The truth is that being authentic with diverse perspectives, potential agreements, and harmonious relationships could be possible. It takes courage for an individual to speak the truth when it is different from what others want to hear. However, this kind of courage is one critical factor for authenticity.
There could be times when someone can hurt or make somebody angry by being honest and true to themselves. By making a person wrong, they could be able to preserve their beliefs. However, it is thinking that would never help build a good relationship.
How to disagree without fighting
Keep in mind that someone's willingness to expand their awareness could be a small step towards growth in a relationship. Both parties should allow different beliefs and points of view to co-exist for them to grow in unexpected ways.
Diversity in point of view is an excellent opportunity in gaining new insights, perspectives, empathy, and self-awareness. A good start is to accept that it is possible to have different points of view and still maintain camaraderie. You can have your point of view while considering someone else's point of view makes sense for them.
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3 Levels of strategies in building a harmonious relationship
These are the three levels of strategy that can be used toward building harmonious relationships in the face of disagreement:
1. Tolerance of difference
It is an initial step toward harmony. Consider disagreeing with your spouse while enjoying your differences without conflict.
In most situations, setting emotional boundaries is genuinely beneficial. Try to set up some conditions for interaction by not bringing up specific topics.
Acceptance is the next step toward harmony. Both parties would accept that they have different beliefs and should not try to change them. One should never attempt to alter, convince, undermine, or fix anything about someone's belief.
Acceptance is one way of acknowledging differences. Furthermore, it also allows people to co-exist and holds a space for mutual respect.
Lastly, the essence of compassion. Compassion says,
"I rise above beliefs and differences. My love for a friend, family member, or humanity is more important than differences."
Love for others could also mean embracing the person for who they are. It could also mean wanting to learn about how they feel, think, and experience the world.
Always keep in mind that the difference is not a threat. Hence, it is an opportunity to see life in a new way. For you, it can be a way for you to get to know your spouse in a deeper way.
The importance of expanding compassion
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Expanding your compassion towards other people could also equate to increasing your awareness. Moreover, extending compassion, especially to those different from them, could enrich one's connection to humanity.
Compassion deepens people's capacity to love. Here are the ways how you can practice relating to others from the perspective of a shared human existence:
- Find common ground, as a difference is only one aspect of the person.
- Try to understand the other person's context and where they are coming from. Instead of saying, "That's absurd. How could you think that?" Try "That's an interesting thought. Would you like to explain that further?"
- Be willing to communicate by listening with nonjudgmental openness and sharing authenticity and kindness. Harsh words and judgment will usually provoke anger, but gentleness and a thoughtful response will encourage acceptance and intimacy between you and your spouse.
Remember, in marriage and in building a positive family life, it's better to be loving than to be right.