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“Stop! You are doing that wrong!”

“No, I’m NOT. I always do it THIS way!”

“As usual, you’re being completely disorganized and illogical!”

“Typical! You’re being completely rigid and rude!”

As you can see, this is a conversation that is not going well – and has too often happened between my dear husband Ed and me, even after all these years together!

We can get stuck in endless arguments about who is right, who is wrong, and why. We can argue about the right way to plan a trip, how to load the dishwasher, or what we remember about just about anything that has happened in the past.

Sometimes we get so stuck in disagreeing about how to communicate with each other that we forget the original reason for our argument!

As I look back over our 46 years of a mostly happy marriage, I regret the countless hours we wasted in useless arguments!

Has that ever happened to you – with a child, friend, or family member? Even a co-worker? You just get stuck going around and around, getting nowhere. It’s frustrating and can not only get you both upset, but leave bad feelings between you.

Let me share what we’ve learned to do instead. Instead of getting stuck in endless arguments, Ed and I now do our best to:

  • Cheerfully “agree to disagree” about which person is right or wrong. For example, either of us might suggest, “Let’s talk about something else.”
  • Acknowledge the other person’s point of view respectfully, even if we strongly dislike it. Acknowledging is not the same as agreeing. For example, either of us can say kindly, “Our memories about this are different!”
  • Define our boundaries about what is his business and what is my business – such as realizing that we should ALWAYS have separate suitcases!
  • Negotiate until we find a common ground for decisions that truly involve both of us. Most of the time, I decide where we are going to go – and he decides how we are going to get there!

When we decide to agree to disagree, we free ourselves to let go of needing to be seen as right by the other person. By avoiding getting stuck, we can focus on what is possible, so that we can have more fun and fewer problems with each other.

 

Copyright © 2020 - present. All rights reserved.

Published: July 16, 2020   |   Last Updated: July 16, 2020

Kidpower Founder and Executive Irene van der Zande is a master at teaching safety through stories and practices and at inspiring others to do the same. Her child protection and personal safety expertise has been featured by USA Today, CNN, Today Moms, the LA Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Publications include: cartoon-illustrated Kidpower Safety Comics and Kidpower Teaching Books curriculum; Bullying: What Adults Need to Know and Do to Keep Kids Safe; the Relationship Safety Skills Handbook for Teens and Adults; Earliest Teachable Moment: Personal Safety for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers; The Kidpower Book for Caring Adults: Personal Safety, Self-Protection, Confidence, and Advocacy for Young People, and the Amazon Best Seller Doing Right by Our Kids: Protecting Child Safety at All Levels.


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