How to Win an Argument

Opposites attract and we all end up marrying someone who is completely the opposite of us. You have conflicting ideas which become arguments, or one person gets their way and the other suffers. So how do you win an argument and get your own way? If that is the question, you’ve already lost, because you’re on the same side and marriage is about teamwork. A better question is, how can we be on the winning team?

I’m like the architect with quirky ideas and my hubby is like the practical engineer. So imagine us trying to build a house together! I wanted to build with recycled materials, and he wanted new materials. We compromised, and the house is built from new bricks, apart from the scullery and entrance which is built from recycled bricks. It looks amazing because it reflects a blend of ‘us’. I now see when we put our ideas together, that they are better than my individual ideas. I have grown to invite and love his ideas. Through this challenging process we have become more of a team.

How do you get on the same page?! When we have conflicting ideas, whether it’s for the house or how to spend holidays, we book in a good time to have the conversation. Straight after the kids have gone to bed is a good time. This is not a fight/argument, it’s a team meeting. The reason why your partner is weird to you, is the result of the family they grew up in and vice versa. So as an example, for holidays, we’d take turns to say how things were as we were growing up in our family of origin. I’d write down his childhood memories on one end of a piece of paper, and write down my childhood memories on the other end.

A few years ago I was having a hard time trying to book a holiday with my hubby. There was resistance and I couldn’t understand why. It turned out that he didn’t go on holidays as a child and the idea was foreign to him. I had no idea! I went on camping trips all the time as a kid, with cheap tents and taking it in turns to lay in the back of the wagon all the way to Queensland! Writing our childhood experiences down helps us to understand why the other person is the way they are, and on the back of the paper I write how we are going to blend our experiences and ideas and set up our new ways of doing things. Turns out we both wanted our kids to grow up having memories of family holidays.

The next step is to write down action points you agree on. For example, he wanted a camper trailer. I didn’t think it was necessary as they can cost $10,000 + but it was important to him, so I agreed, but it had to be under $5000. So we negotiate until we both agree and it’s all on paper so it’s not a frustrating conversation that goes in circles. It gets to the end where we have an agreement on paper, and if for example I said, I don’t want to get a camper trailer anymore because I think it’s a waste of money, he would have the paper as evidence which says that I agreed to it!

We don’t get excited about these ‘meetings’ so we make sure we have a stash of chocolate to enjoy as we chat, because working things out can be exhausting, especially if the issue is an emotional one. Conflict happens because you grew up in different families, not necessarily because the other person is a jerk! You’re a team and when you work together you complement one another! If our kids are drifting off to sleep and hear us work things out, then they are learning how to be married and compromise and will know what to do one day when they are married, and be able to pass it on to their kids. When you’re on the winning team at home, it makes parenting easier, makes you healthier, and you have headspace to think about business, finances and ideas for saving the world! So make it a priority to be on the winning team.