Arguing sucks the life right out of me.
Picture a full, brightly colored helium balloon suddenly start to lose air. Little by little, it deflates before your eyes as the air seeps out faster and faster until it drops completely to the ground, shriveled and flat.
Can anyone relate?
This week, as I continue my 40-week journey through the Respect Dare, focusing on my backyard mission in my own home, I look at dare 5, which challenges wives on the subject of arguing. The dare? Don’t argue with your husband about ANYTHING for an entire day, even if you believe he is completely wrong.
This is where the phrase ‘bite your tongue’ becomes a reality. For some of us, we may literally have to bite our tongues in order to keep arguing words from coming out of our mouths. After all, we KNOW we are right, right?
But what if it just doesn’t really matter that much? Who’s right and who’s wrong?
What if our relationships matter more than being right?
What if arguing just leads to anger and defensiveness and other bad communication tactics, like blaming or name calling and judgmental statements.
Once anger enters the picture, it’s all over. Rational thought processing abilities have gone out the window, any way. It’s just science.
Why go there? No one is going to win.
In fact, both people are going to lose, and the relationship is going to be damaged.
Each time we engage in an argument, the relationship bubble, like the balloon, starts to deflate, and before you know it, you’re left feeling empty and lifeless.
No one feels heard or understood and no one feels loved. Instead, there’s a gigantic chasm between you and the one you love and you have no idea how to bridge it.
Not only does arguing chip away at your relationship, did you know it also is harmful to your health?
A fascinating four-year study out of Ohio State University, focused on healthy newlywed couples, showed that arguments actually caused the wife’s hormone levels to rise and stay elevated for prolonged periods, weakening her immune system and making her more vulnerable to illness.
Arguing can make you sick!
The team noted that since the research was done on physically healthy couples, the effects would be much worse on those who are unhealthy.
Another study, publicized in Forbes, showed that people who bicker are more likely to die earlier than those who do not. Among those who were married, there was a 50 to 100 percent higher likelihood of earlier death, especially among the husbands, likely due to the stress caused by arguing.
Arguing can lead to early death!
No wonder it feels like it sucks the life out of me!
It’s not the actual presence of conflict that’s harmful, however. Experts point out it’s the style of conflict resolution, in which too many couples resort to arguing, which, ironically, keeps us from reaching any kind of resolution. We’re too busy defending ourselves and proving the other person wrong!
“The sarcasm, name-calling and back-biting are the problems,” says the Ohio State study.
Arguing even affects us spiritually. 2 Timothy 2:23-24 says, “Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.”
Did you catch that?
Arguments lead to resentment, lack of kindness in our natures and an inability to do God’s work.
The Bible also associates quarreling with foolishness.
“It is to one’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.” Proverbs 20:3
I don’t know about you, but when I think of a fool, I picture something kind of like this:
It’s hard to take a clown seriously, isn’t it?
Now of course the Respect Dare focuses on wife-husband relationships, but these concepts could easily transfer to ANY relationship, whether at home, church, work or at the grocery store.
Dare you to be mindful of what YOU can do to avoid an argument!
Protect your relationships and your health!
Thanks for hanging in here with me. It’s lovely to be loved.
If you haven’t already done so, you can get your copy of the Respect Dare, my favorite wife 101 manual, here. It makes a great Bible study!
Texas love, ya’ll.
Keep fighting the good fight.