In a union, it is never about winning a debate

By , K24 Digital
On Mon, 12 Jun, 2023 07:30 | 2 mins read
Marriage debate

I was a member of our school debate club. I loved debating. The aim of a debate is to win an argument, have your opponents cross over and join you in either opposing or defending the motion. In a debate, one’s aim is usually to prove themselves right and the other person wrong, or to silence the other person. When you do that, you leave the argument with a feeling of having won the debate, having proved your point and shown the other person how wrong they are. That feels good. But the other person leaves feeling he/she has lost.

Winning an argument or debate may be good in Parliament or in a Court of law, (no wonder some of the best parliamentarians are lawyers). But in relationships, especially marriage, it’s never about winning an argument. In fact one might win the argument and lose their spouse and the marriage itself. In marriage and in serious relationships, it’s always about connecting and resolving the issues between us. This can only happen if we actively listen to each other with the aim of not necessarily agreeing with them, but understanding where they are coming from.

We all hunger to be heard, to be felt and whenever we experience that in our relationships in spite of our different opinions, our hearts melt. Listening without judgment, or preparing a rebuttal is key to defusing anger, thus breaking down the walls erected between us. In order to do so, the two need to take turns to talk and to listen to each other. The speaker needs to talk about one issue at a time and that too, be succinct.

The listener’s responsibility on the other hand is to mirror back what they have just heard to see if they really got it. This gives them no room to prepare their rebuttal like lawyers in a Court of law. The listener can ask questions to gain clarity, not to cross-examine their partner. As you listen, you listen to not just the facts being communicated, but more importantly the feelings as well.

When you do this, you will be surprised at how you can end up validating those feelings and empathising with them. In that way, where there has been a disconnection, the two can quickly reconnect and continue being one.

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