And Another Thing!
By Lisa Lakey
Growing up, I tried to have the last word with my dad. Frequently, you could hear the following scenario at the end of an argument between my dad and 10-year-old me:
Dad: OK, we’re done.
Me: Fine then.
Dad: I said it’s over. Don’t say another word.
Me: If that’s what you want.
I just couldn’t resist getting one more thing in.
Not much has changed in 25 years. I still (unfortunately) love to have the last word. Except now, it’s with my husband.
And he wants the last word, too.
It’s tough, right? We all want to be heard, to know what we have to say matters. But at what expense?
Toward the end of an argument I am rarely saying something new. I’m just haphazardly trying to summarize (often with dramatic hand gestures), while my husband does the same.
In fact, the only new thing I bring to the end of a conversation is me subtly (or not so much) raising my voice. In the heat of the moment, we tend to think this works to our advantage. Maybe they’ll hear us better this time?
Um, probably not.
I’m really just trying to have my way, to “win.”
But if I win, does he lose? Does he feel less heard if I have the last word?
When I put it into that perspective, I lower my voice a bit. I listen to his point of view a little more instead of reiterating my own, because I know love doesn’t demand its own way (1 Corinthians 13:4-5). And I (normally) realize having the last word doesn’t matter.
Unless it’s “I’m sorry.” Or “I love you.”
The most difficult arguments are when you are both right. Read more in “Why Do We Keep Arguing?”
The good stuff: Let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:18)
Action points: The next time you find yourself in an argument with a spouse (we’re hoping it’s not today!), stop and listen before trying to have the last word. Don’t reiterate your point. Let them know you hear what they’re saying without trying to make them agree with you.
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