Building a Strong Relationship: Family Disagreements

Psychologist Marion Bilich, PhD, answers the question, How can we work out our differences about big issues?

Question

My husband and I differ strongly in our feelings about how the government should react to serious world events. We've had some really hot debates, and I feel like we can't even discuss things like terrorism and war without arguing. What should we do?

Answer

Couples disagree often, so this isn't a totally unusual situation. This isn't the first time the two of you have disagreed about what to do. But arguments are more passionate and emotions run high when people are faced with frightening situations. You and your partner should try to keep this in mind and not take your discussions too personally.

You might think about how you've resolved arguments in the past. What works for you? One technique you might consider is to have one partner explain his or her viewpoint while the other partner just listens without commenting or interrupting. After a predetermined amount of time, you switch places. Sometimes just being able to speak our minds, and being listened to by someone we love, is all we really need.

 

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