No one enjoys getting into a fight, especially with someone you love. Yet, many of us find ourselves over and over falling into contentious arguments, with the members of our own family, especially over our survival preparation goals and actions. Some of our loved ones doubt that our concerns about the future are reasonable. “It won’t get that bad,” they insist. Or maybe they just don’t want to give up this or that convenience or play thing. Maybe the argument is over finances. It could be with your husband, your wife, or with your children. These conflicts tear at the bonds that keep our families together. Rather than fight, many of us simply sulk away. Sulking people don’t make good survivalists or preparers. Neither do folks who are seething with anger. There must be a better way to face and overcome conflict. There must be a better way to bring our families along in the work of preparation. There is.
A Loving Way to Argue
The foundational basis of all healthy human relationships is love. That sounds so abstract, doesn’t it? Too often we hear the call to love and we instantly start thinking about a feeling, something that happens to you when your hormones get fired up. But that’s not the kind of love we need. It’s not the sort of love that you can build a relationship on. The kind of love that’s needed is not a feeling. It’s a choice. The kind of love that anchors families and friends together is a love that chooses to seek the good of the other.
Now what does all this talk about love have to do with arguing? If “love means never having to say you’re sorry,” it must surely mean that love has nothing to do with arguments. But it does. Arguments will necessarily come up within all relationships. The question is not whether we can we avoid having arguments but rather, whether those arguments will be loving or not. Most often they are not. When the other person challenges you or questions your motives or just gets in the way of your plans, you first instinct is to take offense. “How dare they!?” Up go the hackles. Love dwindles and even dies under such conditions.
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Learning to Fight Fair (and Win!)
Is there another way to argue; a way in which love will not only survive, but thrive? There is. When your husband or wife or child or friend opposes you it is always because they have a different idea concerning the big problem or concerning the best way to solve the big problem. Do you know what their concern is? Have you listened to their objections? What’s their plan to solve the problem? If you love them, you will find the answers to those questions. Perhaps you might discover that they really do have a point after all. Or you may conclude that they’re concern is not legitimate after all. What then? Now comes the tough part.
If you want to argue lovingly, you must know what your opponent’s big concern is. Then you have to show him or her that your plan, your solution to their big problem, will work better than their solution will. Do you see how love is working in this kind of argument? Instead of simply trying to get my way, I’m laboring to do good to the other person.
A Practice Argument
Let’s consider a hypothetical argument. You’ve been reading the material on this web site. You’ve become convinced that it’s high time to begin taking responsibility for your family’s preparedness for danger or disaster. You have decided that you need to start allocating funds to buy extra food supplies, alternative energy sources, guns, or whatever. But when you begin to talk to your wife about your plans, she ridicules them. She is convinced that the government would never let it get that bad, that there are too many smart people out there to let this kind of disaster ever overtake us. And so you bluster. Or at least you start to. But then you remember that you must love your wife in the way you argue.
Instead of demeaning her view or calling her names, you sit down and ask her to tell you why she has such confidence in the state. What has she read? Ask her to tell you why she thinks your desire to stock away supplies is improper. And then you have to listen. Fear motivates almost everyone at some level. What’s she afraid of, really? You may discover, and for the purposes of this exercise we’ll decided you have discovered that she is afraid to think about losing electricity for weeks or months, or going broke, or facing some other unknown kind of disaster. Perhaps, like many of us, her first instinct is to pretend it won’t happen.
What can you now do to show your wife that your plan will work better to solver her real concern than her plan will. It’s not so hard. Her response involves doing nothing. Yours at least has the advantage of keeping you busy doing something. And besides, even if the disaster you’re expecting never comes, the stocks of food or water can always come in handy when small disorders befall (short term power loss, temporary financial difficulty, etc.) If her big concern is fear, you give comfort. You show her that your preparations will mean that she won’t have to fear what’s coming, at least not as much. Show her that your plans are reasonable responses to the danger we all face. And then hug her.
Everyone wants to be taken seriously. Everyone wants to be loved. When you find yourself in a conflict with another person, set about to do these two things. Listen carefully to their concerns. Then show them how your proposed plan will help solve their big concern better than the plan they’re using. In so doing, you are demonstrating that you have their best interests at heart. You’re showing that you care about their opinions and that you love them. This is how you argue in love. And don’t be surprised if you begin to find your arguments succeeding.
©2012 Off the Grid News