Constant disagreements, hard or destructive criticisms, quarrels, contentions, fights, and any accompanied threats, are among the strongest indications of a marriage, courtship, or relationship that is falling apart.
You must wake up and sit up to completely and honestly address any matters that form the basis of your dissatisfaction and contention, especially when you hear threats and negative statements like:
“Hmm; you don’t know the person you are dealing with; one of these days you will see who I am”.
“I regret for wasting my time in this relationship”.
“I have never known or experienced any happiness since I married you.”
“One of these days, you will come home, and I will be gone”.
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“If you are not careful, I will divorce you one of these days!”
“I am not happy in this marriage, and I don’t think I want it (or should continue in it) anymore”.
“It appears I made a mistake in my choice of a partner, because you are not my type of person that I want to share my life with”.
“I think we should separate for a while”.
“Honestly, I am still in this marriage because of the children”.
“I am only waiting for my pregnancy to be over, for me to have my baby, and then I will show you that I am not a fool”.
Quarrels and the associated peace-destroying components commonly characterize several rocky marriages and unstable courtships or relationships. Unfortunately, the people in these relationships downplay the devastating effects and possible tragic consequences that could result, until the marriage or courtship disintegrates, or the sweet relationship grows very sour.
If our natural proud and selfish nature is not confronted and broken through, for humility of heart and mind to reign in our lives, then we can easily become intolerant, impatient, self-righteous, picky, un-loving, and disrespectful to our partners.
Sometimes the tension in the home, marriage, or relationship is due to disrespect for the partner or competition between the partners. In that case, nothing of the other person will please you, and complaints will be common, which will be sometimes followed by the exchange of unpleasant words.
In such a toxic atmosphere, unacceptance is heavily felt, and disagreements plus contentions and quarrels find the best fertilizer for their monstrous growth.
When tension begins and grows in your relationship
When you realize that disagreements and accompanying arguments are brewing between you and your companion, you begin to receive conflicting messages as to the interpretation of all the actions and utterances of the individual you associate with, whether good or bad. You can be irritated when he or she laughs or sings, and expresses happiness or sadness. On the other hand, his or her silence can also “get on your nerves”. Nothing pleases you in such circumstances. If allowed to continue, the resentment can grow to unbelievable proportions such that everything of the person annoys you.
Your initial light resentment can develop into intense anger, bitterness, and even persecution. You will find yourself now going after the one directly or indirectly with evil intentions and unbelievable malice. This has happened in marriages where divorce, atrocious cheating, wicked schemes, and even physical harm and murder has resulted. The person’s pet or domestic animal (cat, dog, sheep etc.) can even suffer heat from your simmering anger if the animal comes into contact with you.
You can be so angry that you will not want to touch your spouse or companion’s food even when you are dying of hunger. That is when a husband or wife sleeps in a sofa in the living room, on a mat on the floor, in a separate bedroom or the children’s room for a long time.
Depression, abuse, divorce, immorality, suicide, and murder can be some of the consequences of unresolved conflicts in a home. Life under such circumstances can be a living hell!
The solution Do your best to identify and attack the root problem, and break free from your bitterness by first focusing on “your nerves” which the one is “always getting on”, and deal with “those nerves”, using the right tools of honest self-examination, breaking through your pride, kicking away your unforgiving spirit, decision to overcome your undue sensitivity, prayer, scripture, steps to engage in conversation, acts of love etc. Then you will become stable, think properly, analyze things objectively, and use wisdom (right mind) and inner strength (right heart) to handle yourself and the person.
You must aim at lasting solutions that will benefit both of you and bless you with sweet companionship.
We often attempt to deal with disagreements the wrong way and create more problems for everyone including ourselves.
Many of us also cowardly, deceitfully, or heartlessly ignore or pretend there is no disagreement, or try to say that “what is going on does not matter”, and bulldoze ahead with our agenda till the situation explodes or the relationship crumbles.
The beginning of all conflict resolution is to critically examine and find out IF an offence has really been committed --- this is the beginning of the initial step of reasonable indication of a conflict. Sometimes there is NO OFFENCE really committed, but your own wrong perceptions, undue sensitivity, wrong interpretations, and vain imaginations.
If you recognize that no offence exists, then deal with yourself, settle the matter between you and God, and leave the other fellow alone without any problem to resolve.
If you are convinced that an offence has been committed, then follow the steps outlined by the Lord Jesus in the Bible, and the elaborations on these scriptural principles laid out in this book.
Resolve issues that create your quarrels
In the marriage or courtship, whoever clearly sees and understands the chaotic problem, and becomes genuinely concerned about the ungodly and contentious situation that is boiling, should pray to God about it first. Then find the best ways to gently sit down with the mate and engage in honest mutual dialogue to resolve the issues involved.
Ensure that the following factors are adequately addressed:
1) The root of the tension must be traced and effectively dealt with between the two people.
2) Each of you must find out what normally irritates or bruises the other, and determine to avoid provoking one another in every way or manner, as best as you can.
3) Each of you must be sensitive to the emotional and mental needs of men and women in general, and what is specific to each of you depending on your temperaments, experiences, immediate needs, and background training.
4) Both of you must commit to work on yourselves regarding any bias, wrong impressions, or prejudgment, that could easily make you misunderstand or misinterpret the other person.
5) You must also prayerfully train yourselves to overcome any spirit of undue sensitivity that would always cause you to be easily offended, and become provoked, for you to complain too much.
6) You must get rid of any unwillingness to make necessary changes in your speech, habits, thinking, manners, attitude, actions, and lifestyle that promote disagreements and quarrels between you.
7) Determine to train yourself and adjust to the gender, physical, spiritual, social, and other types of differences between the two of you.
8) Learn to point out faults and correct each other with gentleness and in love, using the right words that will always produce repentance in the offender and promote righteousness.
9) Train yourself to deal with one main issue (or a particular major issue) at a time; and stop reminding, recalling, and rehearsing weaknesses, old faults, and past wrongdoings.
10) Practice control of your temper, no matter the situation; and develop self-control.
Understand the weaknesses of your partner, and be a peacemaker
Whatever we need to do, and can do, to save every tense situation, in order to make and maintain peace in this world, we need to do. We need to commit ourselves to be peacemakers in this regard, especially in our marriages, courtships, families, and relationships.
To develop and maintain continual peace in our relationships, we need to accept the fact that each of us has his or her weaknesses that will always annoy and “get on the nerves” of a partner, family member, or a friend.
We should therefore learn to accommodate and patiently deal with the weaknesses of others, and humbly work together in love until desired changes are built in the person in our relationship, especially for a husband, wife, or fiancée.
If you want to experience personal peace on a regular basis, then you must learn how to forgive offences, avoid offending people as much as you can, and become a peacemaker who brings healing between (and among) people, with your entire life.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God” (Mathew 5:9).
Handle disagreements and arguments with love, respect, gentleness, and wisdom
Arguments in a courtship or marriage can be positive or negative in content or in performance, or a combination of both. Whenever we hear that: “They argued”, or “There was an argument”, we are always made to entertain the first impression that there was contention, and immediately conclude that a fight had taken place. But there can be healthy, loving, decisive, goal-oriented, objective, intellectual argument that is constructive, unbiased, and conducted along decent and respectful lines for productivity and unity. We usually call it a debate, in which case it carries a more noble and acceptable title than argument.
I believe in any free and democratic society, and especially in an atmosphere where the Spirit of God reigns, a healthy debate is each person’s moral, social, and spiritual responsibility in order for all minds to be tapped for the common good.
In a healthy relationship, the people involved in the argument are sensitive to each other’s needs, weaknesses, and strengths, and will speak and act in a way that will only benefit all of them in the finality. This is how it ought to be for husband and wife, and other family members. From the home we then transfer it to church, ministry groups, organizations, schools, clubs, workplace, businesses, fellowships, and other aggregations with a common objective.
The purpose is to develop and promote a sense of community. Such healthy arguments by curious, inquiring, godly, and progressive minds are definitely positive arguments that offer tutorials and impart knowledge to minds that are trained and sharpened in the process.
Voices need not be needlessly raised, and anger or resentment should not be part of the equation. Frustration could be part of it here and there as normal human response for any human being who is not able to grasp an important idea at any time, or feels that his or her point is not getting through to the other person. But it should be dominated by the desire to learn more lessons for personal improvement, and the commitment to each other for mutual love and benefit.
Most undesirable arguments are the results of people not having or exercising humility and a listening ear. You need a heart of humility, patience, love, mercy, and faith to fully listen to what someone has to say, synthesize all the information, and come out with the right response.
If you do not listen carefully to what the other person is saying, you are likely to ignore the one or give a swift, inappropriate reply that may not fulfil the need of the moment, and rather generate unnecessary argument.
In our homes, marriages, and during the times of courting, men and women give a thousand excuses and develop arguments from complaints, and try to explain away why they are what they are and do what they do.
The truth is that God knows the hearts of all of us, and knows our beginning from our end.
He wants to deal with us in the same way he dealt with everybody else in history.
We should simply allow the Lord to speak to us in our spirits and minds, and have willing hearts to obey what He says in order to overcome our weaknesses and live victorious lives.
Declaring victory at the end of an argument does not necessarily make you the winner, especially if seeds of discord are sown, and disunity results.
Why should you win an argument and lose a friend? Some people do not even care to win an argument and lose a husband, wife, child, parent, in-law, good friend, or some other family member.
One major characteristic that distinguishes a positive, healthy argument is the allowance of one party to let the other person also speak while he or she listens.
It takes two or more humble, good listeners to argue positively and deepen the love and understanding in their relationship after the argument.
Even if the other person is wrong, you can listen, analyze the fallacy or lack of wisdom in his or her thinking, and strategize how to relate to the one in order to help the person, and be of maximum benefit to each other.
Sometimes people can even joke with what they say, thinking and believing that their relationship with you would not cause you to take them too serious and be offended.
We know that sometimes people can lie about that, and begin to say “I am just joking when I said that”, only when they begin to realize that their words or impressions have displeased you, and started some kind of trouble from your side.
Sometimes too people intentionally make certain statements to see “how you will react” in order to prepare the way to “tell you other things they wish to tell you”, or “do something they have planned to do but are not sure how you would take or interpret it”.
Of course, there can be expensive jokes that all of us need to be careful about. We can discern matters properly and give the best response only when we carefully listen to someone and conclude that it is a serious matter, little matter, useless point, sarcastic comment, utterances with malicious undertones, comment revealing evil intent, simple joke, silly joke, or expensive joke that the one is trying to communicate to us.
You can avoid many arguments by being a good listener
Most undesirable arguments are the results of people not having or exercising patience, wisdom, humility, and a listening ear. You need a heart and mind of humility, patience, love, mercy, and faith to fully listen to what someone has to say, synthesize all the information, and come out with the right response.
If you do not listen carefully to what the other person is saying, you are likely to ignore the one or give a swift and inappropriate reply that may not fulfil the need of the moment, and promote a healthy argument.
A good listening habit is one of the major keys to avoiding unnecessary argument.
Every human being loves the company of a good listener. The love grows when the person pays attention, establishes eye contact, and gives you your desired response.
You feel accepted and loved by the person, and enjoy talking more to the one. It stimulates you to go a step further to reveal the deep contents of your heart to his or her listening and loving ears.
Can you give me an example of any person who does not want people to listen to him or her regarding what the one wants to say? None.
The normal human tendency is to get personal attention by making yourself and your opinion is known all the time. We must learn to portray less of ourselves in ways that do not make us dominate conversations, discussions, a person, or a group.
We are prone to be so ready to talk during conversations and at meetings and during discussions, such that we usually will not carefully listen to what the other person is saying. We, therefore, lose a lot of valuable words, wisdom, and ideas that God wishes to impart to us through people.
It is good to speak to affirm or confirm important opinions you share with someone, as an appropriate and encouraging response. But many times we literally repeat in different words what the other person has already said, not to affirm, but to let people see that we are also important. That bad habit can waste time that could be used to discuss other important matters because we would not listen, and simply want to be heard.
In several such instances, we end up even contradicting ourselves, become poor communicators or bad conversationalists, and cause the discussion to be divergent and diffuse instead focused and goal-oriented.
The sad part is that usually we may not even be aware of being destroyers of effective communication and sweet fellowship, because we only focus on ourselves and what we want to say, and do not therefore even listen to what the other person just said, before we launch into verbal avalanches that make us feel great in our self-centered and ignorant minds. This practice causes us to develop a habit of not investigating matters when we hear them before we give our personal opinions and responses.
Our judgment then becomes habitually faulty and biased. Nobody would love our company that way, and we would have no real friends.
Even if we do make only a few friends, they will be people who merely tolerate us, carelessly have the same non-listening character as we do, or are fake friends whose hearts are not really with us.
Arguments that have no end
It is common for people to argue about the same issue throughout their marriage or courtship, with no profitable conclusions for progress. This might lead to divorce or break-up of the courtship if they let the arguments seriously escalate, engage in dirty fights, shut down and refuse to talk, or pour out excessive blame on the other person.
In all cases you may need to compromise and train yourself to do some “give-and-take”, which will put an end to the constant quarrels, battles, and the struggle with your differences.
Couples should not allow themselves to get caught up in a cycle of the same-old dissatisfaction drama because they’ve lost interest in each other and in the health or benefits of their relationship.
The relationship must be constantly evaluated, and all areas renewed for continual freshness to prevail.
Determine to finish your marriage or courtship and all good relationships with success, by making plans to train yourself and become a great peacemaker who knows how to forgive offenses, and avoid unnecessary arguments.
End up victoriously in life with the testimony of being a God-fearing person who represents the true character of God, as a peaceful and loving sweet spouse, parent, son or daughter, family person, good friend, and an enjoyable companion for others.
(Obtain more information from Dr. Kisseadoo’s new book: “The 20 Major Signs Of A Failing Marriage” from Challenge Bookstores in Ghana or Baptist Bookstore at Amakom, Kumasi etc. or call +233-208126533 – Identifying the problem, solution, and prevention).
By Rev. Dr. Kisseadoo. Professor of Biology. International Evangelist. Bible Teacher. Author. Conference Speaker. Relationships, Marriage, and Family Counselor. Founder and President, Fruitful Ministries International Incorporated (An Evangelistic and Teaching Christian Organization).
Call for free counseling and prayer, meetings, speaking engagements, copies of Dr. Kisseadoo’s books, messages etc. US Tel. 1-757-7289330 US Cell & WhatsApp: 1-917-7410643.
In Ghana call or WhatsApp 233-208126533 in Accra, or 233-275353802 in Kumasi.
Facebook: 1) Dr. Samuel Kisseadoo. 2) Rev. Dr. Kisseadoo. 3) Dr. Samuel V. Kisseadoo (this is a Community Page you can “like”).
Tune in to JOY 99.7 FM in Accra, Ghana to listen to Dr. Kisseadoo’s weekly broadcast “Hope For Your Family” on Sat. 5:30am-6am, Ghana time (12:30am-1:00am, US Eastern Time in Nov.-March, or 1:30am-2am, March – Nov.). Simultaneously transmitted through Luv 99.5FM in Kumasi. You can access the broadcast anywhere in the world on the Internet using Myjoyonline.com.
In Ghana, call Tigo or Airtel 545 and follow the prompts for daily inspirational messages of Dr. Kisseadoo. Permission granted to freely share but with acknowledgement.
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