Fighting Over the Same Stupid Thing
By Barbara Rainey
It’s a fascinating statistic. Approximately 69 percent of couples’ conflicts are irresolvable and will be with them in one form or another for the life of the marriage.
Um. Is that supposed to be encouraging?
Here’s why this truth is hopeful.
John Gottman, the author of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, has been studying marriages for decades. He explains, “The reason they are irresolvable, or perpetual, is that no one is wrong concerning the issue. The issue they are disagreeing on is merely a matter of preference.”
No one is wrong. I like that part.
Traveling with my husband is a normal part of my marriage. But contrary to popular assumption, my husband packs more than I do. And it has been one of our “irresolvable conflicts.”
I have learned to let him pack what he wants and how he wants—until he asks, “Can I put these things in your suitcase?”
No. No, you may not.
Who is right?
Mostly it’s just a case of our differences showing up in a very common situation. Over time, he has learned to ask me less frequently for my space, knowing I like him to take responsibility for his own extra items. And I’ve learned to be more gracious and share.
Our methods of packing are really a matter of preference—an irresolvable difference—and learning to be at peace with irresolvable differences has been liberating.
Different is not wrong. It’s just different.
The Good Stuff: The vexation of a fool is known at once, but the prudent ignores an insult. (Proverbs 12:16)
Action Points: Think about your recurring conflicts. You might find that many are just irresolvable differences. What win-win compromises could help you move forward in peace?
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