Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tuesday Talk: Can We Agree to Disagree? Nah.

Religion. Food. Movies. Values. Habits. Vacation destinations. Clothing style. Politics. Thoughts about how marriage should be.

Need I say more? How many of you have ever disagreed with your spouse/significant other about any one of these issues? How do you deal? I used to pout. I'm not kidding. As the youngest of 5 children, I learned pouting was the best way to get attention my way, so I thought I'd use that tactic in my marriage. Didn't work so well. I clearly had a lot of growing up to do and that's exactly what I did.

When I first met D, I remember some of his opinions were different from mine, but never anything that was a deal-breaker {i.e. doesn't believe in God, believes murder is an acceptable way of dealing with someone, stuff like that :-} He was incredibly down to earth and had a realistic way of looking at life's issues. I knew right away this was good for me, because I'm the eternal optimist... even Hitler himself could be helped if I were his counselor {smiles deviously}.

I learned very quickly that when you're dating someone, their opinions on life issues isn't nearly as interesting as when you become engaged to them. Then marry them. Suddenly. It all matters way. too. much. Remember how politics was just whatever, well... now your children's future is determined by what president is being elected or which Governor takes office. The way your husband is dressing is now a representation of you! His habit of watching TV to fall asleep now affects the way you sleep/dream. Your husband's ideas of what a wifey poo should do is all kinds of screwed up. Oh, and why isn't he living his life to make me happy? What's wrong with him?

I learned that straight forward communication is the best way get my point across, even if D doesn't agree with it. Know what I've found? That my life is a lot easier when I'm not trying to change his mind. Why would I want to anyway? Because likely, in some way shape or form, his thoughts are threatening some 'belief system' I established years ago when I was a child being raised by my parents and I just never took the time to really think outside the box about it.

It took me traveling a hard road to realize that it was OK for others' {especially D's because I live with him} opinions to be different than mine. I felt out. of. control. --- yes, afraid --- When others had different thoughts about stuff... really specifically, I'm speaking of spiritual beliefs, politics and core values. Seems these 3 issues are where the rubber hits the road.

So... how do I agree to disagree?
  • First, because I respect D, I want to really hear what he's saying
  • Secondly, I may challenge it because I'm way too stubborn to just give in, but I make sure my motivation isn't to change his thoughts {or him}
  • Then, if he isn't able to get me to see his point, I let him know that while I 'hear what he's saying' I just don't agree {a great thing about D is he accepts that just because I don't see things his way, doesn't mean I'm wrong, but it is what it is}
  • Lastly, did you know there are an average of 10 core marital issues that couples won't agree upon? This goes to show you marriage isn't about having all the same beliefs, but respecting one another enough to trust their opinions, even if they are not your opinions.
Of course as some of those who commented about using the "Yes, dear" method... that works at times, too... You know, those times when you just your spouse need needs your spouse you to shut. up. let the issue go :)

I love what Rhonda said in the comments in the post below about Agreeing to Disagree:

I say that agreeing to disagree requires me to truly set in my mind/heart to accept the other for who they are and not keep a competitive "I know I'm right" internally. That means that I also must allow room for the benefits of their view.

Really? I could have just posted that comment and been done with this post... She summed it up great!

19 comments:

Chic Runner said...

Thanks for posting this. I think that this is a really hard topic to deal with and work through and I really liked your insight and suggestions. :)

A Balancing Act in Heels said...

This makes so much sense to me. I'll be married for 10 years this year, and YES...I agree with what Rhonda said as well. You don't have to agree on everything, but you always have to respect each other and each other's beliefs. The respect turns into an acceptance that allows you to become more open-minded.

P.S. Just found your blog, and I love it.

Mrs. Newlywed said...

First, is it just me but I can't see your writing unless I highlight it as I read...

Second, it was imporant to me to marry someone that agreed with me on certain things. That said, we disagree on a lot of little things but nothing big. On those little things like [which order the silverware belongs in the drawer], we usually just laugh it off. I think the biggest thing is that we are different religions, but they close, but we default to mine because I'm Catholic...and it was a non-negotiable. He didn't have to convert, but he had to promise to raise our kids Catholic and attend Mass with me at least sometimes.

Erin said...

What your saying makes sence but what if my spouce (unlike your husband) feels that pretty much that because I don't agree whith what he is saying... I am just wrong then? My husband has this problem in a bad way...Its his really stubborn Italian ways :) BUT...I can totally be the same way, it just dosen't seem as often.
So this would be my next question... Is there such a thing as fighting fairly and if there is how? :)
You are so great for doing this!

inkOBSESSIONdesigns said...

I also agree that you don't have to agree on everything but it is important to respect each others beliefs. Thanks for posting this!

Jennifer said...

Great topic! I have friends who tell me they are in the perfect marriage and never fight. I don't think that's true. I am in a near-perfect marriage, but we still disagree. I guess it's all in the way you express your opinions and what tone of voice you have.

Tasha said...

Great topic! I really like what you said about being able to challenge his thoughts without wanting to change them. My husband and I disagree on many topics but we both respect each other enough to value both opinions. We've learned this over the years (our first huge fight while dating was over a political disagreement). Now, these "sensitive" topics end up in a good discussion and we both learn something from it! Mutual respect is so HUGE in a marriage. Just my opinion.

Milltini said...

that is a great post!

Miss Adventure said...

You know, I think the biggest differences in my relationship (so far) would have to be the way we both spend money. I'm a tightwad to NO END and he tends to spend money on things that I think are luxuries all the time. I know eventually we'll come up with some sort of way to agree but for now we have completely separate money, I don't even ask how much he makes! I have noticed that the way I am careful with money is beginning to rub off on him, he canceled his $100+ cable package out of the blue and now just has his internet. I think by my inadvertently influencing him, we'll probably come to little trouble with the issue later on.

d.a.r. said...

Really fabulous post, thanks for sharing this topic!

Mrs. Not-so-Domesticated said...

The hubby and I are complete opposites, in almost every way. We definitely have challenging days but we make it work. We both make compromises and even though I know my way is the right way, I give into him occasionally as he does with me. But we're not perfect, and some days there just no agreeing to anything. What fun would life be if everything was perfect...

Stephanie said...

You are definitely right. I just learned a lot...about me. Haha! Thanks!

Courtney and the Boys said...

LOVE. THIS. POST.

Period.

:)

Shannon said...

Loved that post! Keep them coming! It makes me feel soooo much better and I always take something away from it! Great job!

Saskia said...

I love this post. I have grown to be much more accepting of other people's opinions since I've been with my husband as though we don't fight we certainly don't agree on everything either!

Saskia x

Jamiedidit said...

I loved the post, and I agree with Rhonda. The Todd and I are either very much in line with each other or 180 degrees apart. So we agree to disagree a lot, and it's never been a problem. Maybe we are just way too laid back. ;)

writing4612 said...

I totally agree with Rhonda. Some people I know need to really think about the things in this post.

Did you get my comment about Google Analytics on the post before this one? Can you give me your thoughts? I don't know mauch about it.

Wifey said...

Excellent post. You really nailed it - especially not trying to change him. Looking forward to reading more...

Winks & Smiles,
Wifey

The Constant Complainer said...

I grew up in a family where nobody talked. So even if my parents were fighting, you'd never know it because they never said anything.

So when I first got married, if we disagreed, I wouldn't say anything. And I thought things were fine because we weren't "fighting" at all. Wrong-O.

I've since learned to communicate and you know what - it works!!!