Before You Disagree, Say I understand

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Every marriage will encounter moments of tension or disagreement, which can quickly escalate and end in hurt. We won’t always agree with our spouse, but we can practice communicating in an understanding and loving way.

The most intimate marriage moments are the ones where we find the courage to peel back the layers and let ourselves be known by each other. 

Physical intimacy is definitely a big part of that, but so are the times of vulnerable conversation where the raw and emotionally driven words are revealed. In order for understanding, reconciliation, and change to be experienced,we must be mindful of the way we communicate, and how we can handle the delicacy of a conversation, for the sake of unity.

What is your immediate reaction to an idea, a thought, a solution to a problem, a goal being set, or generally anything in conversation that comes up in your marriage? It is important to evaluate your immediate response to these moments, and ask yourself if you are walking these moments with humility and righteousness, and being thoughtful of the other person, or reacting in defense, frustration, or anger.

Are you seeking to understand before just disagreeing?

When it comes to disagreements with our spouse, it’s usually not about the topic at hand. There are often underlying feelings, frustrations, or ways of perceiving the other person, even if we cannot perceive this in the moment. These moments can become wrapped up in emotions and leave each person feeling misunderstood or disrespected. Even if we don’t agree with what our spouse is saying, we can still seek to understand it. It can be helpful to have a neutral response to what they are saying, but also ask your spouse questions to better understand where they are coming from, such as: “What’s going on? Where are you at? Is this something that is truly about me right now? Or is it about this bigger thing? Is there something else going on?” Rather than continuing to argue with our spouse, we can seek to understand, while also realizing that this doesn’t mean you have to agree with what they are communicating. Without first trying to understand one another, marriages will be left with two people who have a lack of respect or understanding for one another, and an inability to build trust.

Proverbs 18: 2 A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.

Proverbs 14:29. Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper, exalts folly. 

We must learn how to agree to disagree-we need to be mature enough to be good listeners and validate each other’s feelings, while also sharing respectfully what our perspective is.

Ways to practice communicating well in the midst of disagreement:

  1. Actively listen to understand. James 1:19: My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.

  2. Communicate with love and respect. Ephesians 4:15: Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in very respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.

  3. Validate feelings. Seek to understand where your spouse is coming from, even if you disagree.

READ TRANSCRIPT

Jennifer Smith (00:06):

The most intimate marriage moments are the ones where we find the courage to peel back the layers and let ourselves be known by each other. Physical intimacy is definitely a big part of that, but so are the times of vulnerable conversation where the raw and emotionally driven words are revealed. In order for understanding, for reconciliation and for change to be experienced today, we’ll observe a general marriage moment that comes up from time to time to encourage all of us to be mindful of the way we communicate and how we can better handle the delicacy of a conversation for the sake of unity.

Aaron Smith (00:37):

Hey, we’re Aaron and Jennifer Smith, your host of the Marriage After God podcast, and this week’s episode is brought to you by our faithful patron team. When someone joins the Patron >/’.show. Every patron has decided to pay it forward and help financially support this show. To join, please visit marriage after god.com/patron.

Jennifer Smith (00:59):

We also want to invite you to sign up for free for our daily prayer email. Just visit marriage prayer challenge.com and plug in your email to start getting a marriage prayer daily to your inbox.

Aaron Smith (01:10):

Hey everyone, welcome back to another episode, another

Jennifer Smith (01:14):

Week, another day.

Aaron Smith (01:17):

So we’ve been talking a lot about Juujitsu just because it’s like a part of our life now with all of our kids, but this last Saturday we got to go to a Saturday morning class, but it was a special class because there was several people in the class getting

Jennifer Smith (01:33):

Testing for doing a belt test,

Aaron Smith (01:35):

Belt graduation. So they were testing to move from white to blue.

Jennifer Smith (01:39):

That was the first time I’ve ever seen anything like that.

Aaron Smith (01:41):

Well, they’re the best classes. They’re the most fun because you do a little bit of drilling in the beginning, but then the people that are testing come out and he start, everyone circles around the room and those people start, he tells me it’s got to be nerve-wracking. Yeah. I watch him. I’m like, oh, I’m totally not ready because I don’t know anything they’re doing. And he says, okay, I want you to do three escapes from Mount. I want you to do a two submissions from Guard sometimes. Yeah, he does all these different things. It’s really cool. But then the funnest part is he likes, because our gym and our coaches want the Juujitsu, we learn to be very practical and self-defense driven.

Jennifer Smith (02:21):

Oh, yeah. I actually love that aspect of the sport. And even when we’re drilling in the morning, the coach will point out, if you happen to be in a situation out in the world, this is how you would adjust to accommodate for that. Or This is what to look for, or this is how you don’t put yourself in a vulnerable situation, position, whatever. I like that being a woman, it’s important for me to lock that in.

Aaron Smith (02:47):

And then I always, for the girls specifically, he’s like, if you’re ever in a street fight, he is like, anything goes because you need to predict yourself. No fight, run, scratch everything. But during this belt test, one of the things that these people that are graduating to the next belt have to do is he pulls a few people from the group to put boxing gloves on, and he has those people kind of go fight these guys and they can’t fight back because they don’t have gloves on, but their job is to take down, defend, defend, and take down the attacker and control them on the ground. And I got to be one of those. And it was like my first time, I’ve never been in a fight and I had to fight it.

Jennifer Smith (03:27):

It was actually kind of hard for me emotionally for some reason to see you doing that.

Aaron Smith (03:31):

Yeah. Never seen you in that. Never. I don’t think you ever told me how you really felt about it.

Jennifer Smith (03:35):

It was hard to watch, especially because there was one guy that did pick you up and throw you down. Yes. That was awesome.

Aaron Smith (03:42):

But he stopped me from hitting him, so

Jennifer Smith (03:45):

I could just tell that you were getting tired, but you did what you were supposed to do, and that was cool. It was exhausting. I’ve never seen you with boxing gloves on. No.

Aaron Smith (03:53):

So anyways, it was a lot of fun, and I’m nervous for one day when I graduate, three years from now, that’s in the next about, so

Jennifer Smith (04:01):

Okay. It’ll probably be a while. Something I love about Juujitsu is that there’s no peak of learning. You’re always learning no matter what,

Aaron Smith (04:09):

And then you’ll have really good days. And then today I went and actually yesterday and this whole week, I felt really bad at it. It’s very humbling. Yeah. I’m like, I’m not good at this. My neck hurts. Everything hurts. I was just smashed over and over and over again.

Jennifer Smith (04:23):

There’s a handful of girls from the gym, and we all went on a hike right after class, which was awesome to get together and see them get to know these other girls. I don’t think we should have done it right after class because I was pretty sore,

Aaron Smith (04:34):

And I’m sure they, was it like a long hike? Yeah, it was

Jennifer Smith (04:36):

Like, yeah, it was fun.

Aaron Smith (04:38):

Cool.

Jennifer Smith (04:39):

Also, this week we had a little meetup, you and I, a powwow about just business ministry, how we do things and

Aaron Smith (04:47):

Social media.

Jennifer Smith (04:48):

That was a big one. So I realized though, that I have done things different on social media the last couple of years, kind of stepped out, don’t show my face as much. Same

Aaron Smith (04:59):

With

Jennifer Smith (04:59):

Me. And I’ve been okay with that. I also felt kind of out of the loop in a lot of ways because Instagram and things were changing so fast and so often, so I took that little bit of a break, although we were still posting things, encouragement and stuff, but we agreed that over this next season we’re going to post more and be more engaging. We’re going to do like q and ass and things like

Aaron Smith (05:23):

That. Try relearn how to do it,

Jennifer Smith (05:25):

Figure out how to do it. We’ll, see, it’s crazy how just talking about it kind of flared up a few insecurities for me, but I’m also excited.

Aaron Smith (05:34):

Well, and so if you’re listening and you follow us on Instagram or Facebook, when you see a post from us, would you just like it and leave a comment and encourage us? That would be awesome. That would be awesome. It would also help spread those posts because of the way algorithms, algorithms work. But yeah, so be on the lookout. You’ll probably see more posts from us. But as for this topic, some moments, marriage moments, that episode is called

Jennifer Smith (06:01):

Before You Disagree, say, I understand. Yeah.

Aaron Smith (06:04):

Yeah. And the idea, is

Jennifer Smith (06:05):

That what it’s titled?

Aaron Smith (06:06):

Am I reading that wrong? That is kind of what it’s title. It might be titled different when we’re done with this, but that’s what we’re talking about is this idea of how to have these moments. Why

Jennifer Smith (06:15):

Don’t you explain a little bit better where the idea came from?

Aaron Smith (06:19):

Well, it’s because we have these moments where we never disagree. We get in conversations and we start out, and usually me, I’m usually quicker to speak. You don’t have to admit that. And then I’m slower to listen. It’s like the opposite of the scriptures we’re going to talk about. But it often comes from a place of, and I’m sure no other man on earth can understand or could relate to this. I’m just kidding by the way, me not hearing you fully through the whole context of what’s going on, all the

Jennifer Smith (06:58):

Different parts and pieces I’m thinking through.

Aaron Smith (07:00):

So when the Bible tells husbands to live with their wives an understanding way, I don’t do that very well.

Jennifer Smith (07:06):

I think it’s fair because I also, when you brought up this topic, I related to it, and I recognize in my own self that, especially if I’m dead set on a situation or a solution or a way of being or a way our family operates or whatever the thing is, if I’m dead set on knowing or believing that how I’m viewing it is right and correct and the best and efficient and effective. And you say something opposite to that. Yeah, I’m very quick to shut it down and No, no, no, no. That can’t be.

Aaron Smith (07:38):

Yeah. Offended.

Jennifer Smith (07:39):

Yeah.

Aaron Smith (07:40):

Yeah. And we do find both of ourselves often when I say often, I don’t mean moment by moment each day, but throughout our marriage, this is like you said, there’s these moments occur in many marriages. We all have these situations where it’s sensitive, vulnerable, and it’s something that’s seemingly, if you just look at the content is small, but the way we are reacting and responding and receiving,

Jennifer Smith (08:08):

And I’m going to say bottom line, what we’re talking about today is that immediate reaction to an idea, a thought, a solution to a problem, a goal being set, anything in conversation that comes up in marriage, question, evaluate, what is that immediate response, and are you walking it out with humility and righteousness and being thoughtful of the other person and

Aaron Smith (08:35):

Thinking and fe and under seeking to understand before just disagreeing. So when we have conversations all the time where it starts off, calm starts off, it’s just normal. It’s like, Hey, this thing’s coming up, and like you said, I have a thought about it, or, oh, that’s interesting and it sounds like I’m bothered or frustrated. And then you’re like, well, why? And then it just starts slowly, starts snowballing, snowballing when, and usually it’s because both of us are not trying to seek to understand what the other person’s saying. We’re just emotionally responding. We’re just walking in the flesh like, oh, didn’t, that’s not the response I was expecting and now I’m bothered. Or that’s I, I’m responding out of being bothered by what you said or how you said it or when you brought it up or whatever.

Jennifer Smith (09:29):

I really like, for our listeners sake, I really like examples when we can clearly say, for example, da da. Yeah. When I was trying to think through specific examples for this, I honestly couldn’t think of a good one, but I know that it happens enough for me to say I understand.

Aaron Smith (09:52):

Well, I think, could you think of anything? I, I have one, but I think it’s hard to come up with them because like I said, they’re often, they’re like, there was a comedian a long time ago, and he had this joke about nothing fights, and there’s, they’re often, they’re nothing fights. Yeah. Because

Jennifer Smith (10:08):

It’s not about the same.

Aaron Smith (10:08):

It came from nowhere,

Jennifer Smith (10:09):

But it’s usually not about the thing. Usually there’s underlying feelings, frustrations, ways of perceiving the other person, or

Aaron Smith (10:20):

Even if we can’t consciously recognize it in the moment. Yeah. I do know that there have been times that you’re sharing something with me. You’re something in your heart, something about maybe friends of ours, something that’s emotional for you, something that’s hard for you, something that you’re struggling with. And in hindsight, your way of presenting it, you might get to me a certain way and instead of me trying to listen and understand what’s going on where you’re at, I will disagree with you. I’ll be like, well, I don’t think what you’re thinking is correct, or I don’t think your approach is right, or what you’re asking of me I don’t think is what I should do.

Jennifer Smith (10:59):

And going straight to that for me on my end feels kind of cold. It’s almost like, did you hear what I just Right. I want emotion. I want compassion and a gentle approach to the conversation versus just logic or

Aaron Smith (11:18):

Right. And I feel like in those situations, there’s a lot of emotions that get wrapped up into it, and then it starts elevating. And I respond a way that frustrates you or hurts you or makes you feel misunderstood, and then you respond a way that makes me feel like I’m misunderstood because now you’re not listening to what I’m saying. And then like you said, snowballs.

Jennifer Smith (11:36):

Well, I think in that moment of elevation, I think what happens is you get triggered in a way of remembering things that make you feel insecure or mad

Aaron Smith (11:48):

Or disrespected or

Jennifer Smith (11:50):

Misunderstood. He’s done this before. This is a pattern. And I think too, remember, we have an enemy. The enemy is quick to get in there and start spreading lies about who you are or who I am or who we are at our marriage. Is our marriage really that strong or is it suffering things that maybe we wouldn’t have been thinking about just by bringing up a conversation? Yeah. In that moment of disagreeing that we start kind of falling apart almost.

Aaron Smith (12:19):

And I think that we often, something that I struggle with is when I disagree with you, it is not in an understanding way. It’s not a, I’m hearing you. I understand what you’re doing. I understand what you’re saying. I know what you’re, I think I know what you’re looking for. Here’s what I’m hearing you say. And I’m no affirm affirmation. Yeah. I’m just disagreeing and saying, you’re wrong, rather than, I’m not in the same place as you on that, but yeah, I’m here for you. How can we navigate this better? And I’m not great at that. And I know that it’s

Jennifer Smith (12:55):

Grown a lot. Yeah, we’ve grown a lot, but this is still something that we’re working through. And I’m sure other marriages, you guys listening, maybe you struggle with it too, which is why we want to bring it up today. So why don’t we talk about what happens when we do get into a conversation that turns to a disagreement and we’re quick to overlook the understanding part? How does that affect us?

Aaron Smith (13:20):

Well, I was Because it hurts. Yeah. It hurts it. You end up feeling disrespected or misunderstood. Just

Jennifer Smith (13:27):

Say we, because these are, these are responses that both of us have felt at times,

Aaron Smith (13:31):

And I think it’s ironic that both of us simultaneously feel misunderstood. You’re not understanding what I’m saying. Well, no, you’re not understanding what I’m saying. And I’m like, well, someone’s saying something. Yeah. What’s being said? And so we get stuck.

Jennifer Smith (13:49):

Yeah. I think on the emotional side of things, this feeling of not being cared for regardless of what the content is, it’s like, well, do you love me? Do you want to be

Aaron Smith (14:00):

Here with you? I was just thinking, so the book, love and Respect, when this happens, this has come up. You don’t feel loved. I don’t feel like you’re loving me right now, but you don’t feel respected and I don’t feel respected. It, it’s a real thing. So your way of responding because you don’t feel loved and the way you come to me, and it’s probably underlying triggers. You didn’t mean to do it, but you say something and I hear it. Yeah. Oh, that’s not respectful. When you’re not trying to disrespect

Jennifer Smith (14:30):

Me and you are experiencing it. What you’re experiencing is a desire for me to be a certain way, and I’m experiencing a desire for you to be a certain way. And when that doesn’t happen, it’s like,

Aaron Smith (14:42):

Which is neither of us trying to understand the other person. Yeah. We’re just responding out of what we’re trying to get out of it, instead of taking a step back and saying, okay, I had this stuff I brought to you and you responded the way you did, so I’m going to ask, Hey, why are you responding that way? Or, Hey, a big part of this communication is asking questions, active listening like, oh, I hear you saying this. Are you meaning this? Are you meaning this? When you say that, is this, you’re the answer? Is this what you’re looking for in a response? Yeah.

Jennifer Smith (15:17):

I think a little note that I wanted to add here was, I think naturally humans, when we’re disagreed with, when we feel like someone’s trying to change what we think is right or should

Aaron Smith (15:34):

Or not going along with it, I don’t know. I don’t agree with

Jennifer Smith (15:37):

It. It could feel like a form of control and our flesh fights control being controlled or wanting that in any way. And so I don’t know what else to say about that here, but there have been times where I’ve told you, I feel like in your disagreement, that it feels like you’re just trying to control the situation instead of understanding my viewpoint. And does that make

Aaron Smith (16:02):

Sense? Well, yeah. And in those same situations, I feel like,

Jennifer Smith (16:06):

So I’m trying to control the

Aaron Smith (16:07):

Situation, and I’m thinking about conversations that we’ve had recently that I end up saying, I’m like, do you just want me to say yes, babe? Yes. Is that what, is that all you’re looking for? Or am I allowed to have a Yeah. Which

Jennifer Smith (16:20):

Sometimes that is all I want.

Aaron Smith (16:22):

And so fighting

Jennifer Smith (16:23):

For that first control,

Aaron Smith (16:24):

You feel like you’re being controlled when I’m not just giving in and I feel like I’m being controlled because you don’t want to hear any other answer from me.

Jennifer Smith (16:34):

I think it seems like, I think something that helps me in that moment when I feel that is reminding myself of who you are and the pattern you live by. You don’t live by this pattern of controlling me. So why wouldn’t that moment would I think that that’s what you’re trying to do

Aaron Smith (16:51):

Because it feels like that.

Jennifer Smith (16:53):

But we have to remember who we are.

Aaron Smith (16:56):

And that whole given the benefit of the doubt, to think the best thinking, the best of your spouse, and I love the Bible because it sees us better than we see ourselves. It’s a perfectly clear mirror of our humanity. And so in James chapter one, verse 19, it makes sense that it needs to tell us this because it’s the opposite of what we want to do. So as my dear brothers and sisters take note of this, everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to be angry. And this is the exact opposite of what we do. And every

Jennifer Smith (17:29):

First we’ll become angry, then we speak, and then we don’t listen

Aaron Smith (17:32):

Or I speak and then become angry. And listening is never a part of the conver equation. It’s we’re just speaking and not really hearing each other.

Jennifer Smith (17:42):

That’s good. Proverbs 24, 3 says, by wisdom, a house is built, and by understanding it is established.

Aaron Smith (17:49):

I love this verse because the establishing of our a well-built home is in understanding. So do we understand the state of our children? Do we understand the state of each other? Do we understand when we’re communicating? Are we seeking to understand what’s going on, what the status is? And it’s something that I, like you said, we’ve been growing in, but it is a heart of mine to understand you better. And I often have my prayers to God are like, God, I don’t understand.

Jennifer Smith (18:20):

Well, and look at that contrast in wisdom and understanding. I feel like wisdom or insight, knowledge, you can build a marriage, you can build a home, you can build a family. But if you don’t walk in understanding, which is an active verb, you have to do that every day. It’s an action. Then it is established. I like that.

Aaron Smith (18:41):

Which could also mean that we could have over time the potential, let’s say we are currently working on this idea of walking and understanding with each other. We can get lazy, stop and just assume, which is, well, a lot of this stuff lands anyways. I’m assuming you’re saying one thing. You’re assuming I’m saying another thing rather than seeking to understand what we’re actually saying. And when a marriage, when a couple doesn’t walk and understand, it doesn’t seek to understand their spouse and to actively be this way, which happens, we’re all, like I said, we all have this. We can’t build trust whenever, every time we have a conversation or anything, and it always gets heightened, and we walk away from each other saying like, well, they never listen to me. They never understand me. And we say those things to ourselves. Yeah, we’re not going to tru trust each other next time we come together, it’s going to just be piled on top of the last time.

Jennifer Smith (19:39):

Sometimes we start to reciprocate how we communicate to each other and respond to certain things because they become patterns and habits and ways of being. And as humans, we see that we become a reflection of that,

Aaron Smith (19:55):

And

Jennifer Smith (19:55):

Then we influence each other, is what I’m trying to say.

Aaron Smith (19:57):

Well, and then the other damaging thing that we all can succumb to if we’re not walking in God’s Holy Spirit, is when we feel misunderstood, when we feel disrespected, when we feel not heard, we tend in the flesh to start to, you said reciprocate, but we also retaliate. We start talking cynically, we start, yeah, we start using terms. You always never, yeah. We start doing these things that are very destructive, rather than trying to just humble ourselves and listen.

Jennifer Smith (20:28):

Yeah. Another thing that could happen is the one who feels hurt or misunderstood, or either party will shut down. They may stop sharing because they don’t want to go into a conversation feeling like, well, I know what’s going to happen. You know, form this idea of like, well, it’s not worth it. And that’s sad. And I know that there’s been times where I’ve felt like that. I’m sure people listening have felt like that, where you kind of weigh the cost out. Is it worth it to bring this to the table for a conversation, or should I just be quiet? And that’s unfortunate because a marriage, a healthy marriage is one where things should be able to be talked about.

Aaron Smith (21:09):

I’m reading a book right now that we’re going to eventually do an episode on, but he talks about why certain people shut down in a arguments, and he talks about how most of the time, on average, it’s the men who do. And

Jennifer Smith (21:26):

I would say it’s me.

Aaron Smith (21:27):

Yeah. Well, he’s not saying women never do it. But yeah, it’s just interesting. So when we do an episode on that, we’ll talk about some of that stuff that is interesting, which is really interesting. But yeah, none of those things are good, but they’re redeemable totally. When there’s repentance, when there’s recognition, when reconciliation, reconciliation happens, coming back together and saying, you know what? I’m sorry that I wasn’t being a good listener. I’m sorry that I responded the way I did.

Jennifer Smith (22:00):

And to give each other grace, because these things are going to happen because we interact with each other because we have differing of opinions

Aaron Smith (22:08):

And there’s so many variables. Yeah.

Jennifer Smith (22:12):

Did you have a bad day today?

Aaron Smith (22:14):

When’s the last time you ate? Yeah, you’re hanging Are my neck hurts? And those things, they’re not excuses, they’re just variables that we might be extra irritable or sensitive,

Jennifer Smith (22:27):

Might say the wrong thing.

Aaron Smith (22:28):

Yeah. Something we tell our kids when they get sugar, like, Hey, you’re about to have ice cream. You need more. You have to have extra. So there’s times of the day that we need extra, and sometimes we forget that as adults.

Jennifer Smith (22:40):

That’s a good little side note. Yeah. Okay, so what do we need to dissect here about our responses to each other? Are we believing wrong and can we adjust to make it better when we’re in that place? Yeah,

Aaron Smith (22:53):

I think we do. Like I said, we go back and forth with you are not hearing me and you feeling like I’m not hearing you. And so neither of us are listening. We’re both, I have my position. And until you’re on this side, I don’t believe you’re listening to me.

Jennifer Smith (23:11):

And do you feel like some people feel like if there is an affirmative response that they’re agreeing already? And is that hard? Is that a place that people don’t want to go? Yeah. Have you experienced

Aaron Smith (23:23):

That? And I have, and that’s the hard thing is seeking understanding isn’t the same thing as agreement. If you’re coming to me with a point of view, a perspective and idea, a thought, a frustration, a struggle, and I don’t agree with your way of communicating it, your way of presenting it, you’re even the content of what you’re saying or

Jennifer Smith (23:45):

My perspective on it,

Aaron Smith (23:46):

Or your perspective on it, just because I don’t agree with it doesn’t mean I can’t seek to understand it. I can’t seek to understand. You seek to say, how can I meet you where you’re at? That doesn’t mean going to, I have to agree with it. And at the end of the day, if I humble myself and I’m walking in God’s spirit, I might come to the agreement with you. I might be wrong. That’s the point.

Jennifer Smith (24:13):

What is, sorry if you already said this, but what is the fair response to understand and go navigate that without agreeing right away? What do you say? What do you do?

Aaron Smith (24:25):

I’m not an expert.

Jennifer Smith (24:28):

Okay. So the next time you say something that I disagree with, I’m going to

Aaron Smith (24:30):

Say I’m, I’m not an expert. This, I’m

Jennifer Smith (24:32):

Not an

Aaron Smith (24:32):

Expert. That’s a good answer. That might diffuse it. So I’m no expert in what you’re talking about right now. I think, yeah,

Jennifer Smith (24:40):

It’s just serious. We need to know,

Aaron Smith (24:43):

Maybe just, I think I’ve tried doing this, but hey, I don’t know if I’m fully agreeing with what you’re saying. I don’t know if I fully agree with what you want, but let’s keep discussing it. Let’s figure it out. Can we table this and talk about it tomorrow? Maybe give

Jennifer Smith (25:01):

Me some time to

Aaron Smith (25:01):

Think about it. Give me some time to think about it. Let me pray about it. Let’s pray together.

Jennifer Smith (25:05):

Neutral responses are good. Yeah.

Aaron Smith (25:06):

Neutral. But trying to listen and just saying, well, tell me more. What’s going on? Where are you at? What, is this something that is truly about me right now? Or is it about this bigger thing? Is there something else going on? I don’t know. I’m not an expert. Yeah. But I know that I think

Jennifer Smith (25:25):

The goal should Go ahead.

Aaron Smith (25:26):

I was just going to say, I just going back to just biblically having the desire to understand, having the desire to love you, you were bringing up earlier, is believing the best about what’s going on. Not trying to, not taking it personally, not being sensitive, not being quick to be angry.

Jennifer Smith (25:43):

And I think

Aaron Smith (25:43):

Practicing those things, think

Jennifer Smith (25:44):

Thinking in that moment, no matter what you heard from your spouse, that you love them, that you want to maintain the connection and unity. So whatever I’m about to say right now needs to wrap around all that and keep it tied together

Aaron Smith (26:03):

Well, and if we find ourself spiraling, which happens, it’s going to happen. Trying to be sensitive to the spirit of God, to that conviction when it comes, because it will, Hey, this is not, doesn’t need to be this way. Hey, you’re being harsh. Hey, you don’t need to say that. You don’t need to act that way. And in listening to the Holy Spirit, and again, at the end of it, always trying to practice reconciliation, that ministry that we have as believers,

Jennifer Smith (26:34):

Sometimes it takes time to do that.

Aaron Smith (26:36):

Sometimes a few days, no, we

Jennifer Smith (26:39):

Have a couple

Aaron Smith (26:39):

More verses. Hopefully not days, but yeah, it happens.

Jennifer Smith (26:41):

A couple more verses for you guys. Proverbs 18, two says, A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. That’s pretty straightforward.

Aaron Smith (26:49):

So are we being fools?

Jennifer Smith (26:51):

I don’t want to be a fool.

Aaron Smith (26:52):

Yeah. I just want to get out of my mind and heart what I have to say, no matter how I say it, and I’m just going to say it, and I don’t want to seek understanding.

Jennifer Smith (27:03):

So the positive is a wise person takes pleasure in understanding a wise person takes pleasure in understanding.

Aaron Smith (27:10):

Yeah. There’s another proverb, but I’m going to butcher this, but it’s a wise man or deep are the thoughts in a man’s heart and a wise man draws them out, or something like that. This idea that it’s a wise man that is able to say, look, we’re going to, how can I get what’s actually in there out? Not just dwelling on the immediacy of the exact phrase and words and how it was said in that very moment, but like, Hey, where’s this coming from? Yeah. What’s driving that emotion? What’s so digging deep into that? Well, of the

Jennifer Smith (27:42):

Heart, looking beyond. Yeah. Another one is Proverbs 1429. Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper, exalts folly.

Aaron Smith (27:52):

Yeah. I don’t want to say this is only a man problem. No way. But I know there’s a lot of men that struggle with anger and because we have these things that I would say both, but it is both. Yeah. And we should both be careful and we should be slow to become angry at each other. Why? We don’t want to be angry. Anger isn’t good, but we have these hormones that get released in our bodies, and we have That’s true. This fight or flight feeling, and it’s like, I just don’t know what to do. And it starts boiling over and things, and instead of taking a breath and taking a step back and to the left to have a change perspective on it. So Proverbs 1315, good understanding winds favor, but the way of the unfaithful is hard. So it’s interesting that faithfulness is tied to this good understanding. A good understanding winds favor, but the way of the unfaithful is hard. Almost like walking in. Faithfulness to you is to seek understanding, is to have good understanding

Jennifer Smith (29:02):

And win in favor with you. And it sounds like, yeah, it sounds you’ll end up winning me over versus,

Aaron Smith (29:07):

But win you over

Jennifer Smith (29:08):

The hard thing that usually happens and vice versa. Yeah.

Aaron Smith (29:14):

I was going to say back. Yeah. So why don’t we talk about maybe some practical applications.

Jennifer Smith (29:19):

Hey, that’s my line. I’m the one that always brings practical, sorry, bring

Aaron Smith (29:24):

It.

Jennifer Smith (29:25):

Did you mean to make it sound like a,

Aaron Smith (29:26):

Do you understand what we’re doing right now?

Jennifer Smith (29:27):

I do. Okay. So for all of our listeners, what are some practical ways of saying, I understand when you’re in the middle of an argument or a conversation,

Aaron Smith (29:39):

How to practice it. I would say first and foremost, just saying, I understand. Practice that as a phrase. Just repeat it

Jennifer Smith (29:48):

Over and over.

Aaron Smith (29:49):

I understand. Yeah. We talked about active listening. Just it, not just hearing, but seeking to understand. So asking questions like, Hey, you said this. What did you mean by it? Yeah.

Jennifer Smith (30:03):

Ask for clarification. When you feel yourself, start to assume what your spouse is trying to say so that you don’t get yourself in a pickle.

Aaron Smith (30:11):

Yeah. So some questions, why does it seem like you’re hurt? Why does this seem like you’re angry? What’s making you

Jennifer Smith (30:18):

Angry? Or what are you hoping for? The conversation.

Aaron Smith (30:21):

Yeah, yeah. When you brought this up, what’s your desired outcome? That’s

Jennifer Smith (30:27):

Good

Aaron Smith (30:27):

Because so sometimes there is no desired outcome. I was sharing earlier, maybe you’re like, I ask you that. You’re like, I don’t have one. I don’t know. Because then I can say like, wow, come here. Lemme hold you. Yeah, because I don’t know either, but I get that this is hard. I, this is heavy.

Jennifer Smith (30:45):

That’s good. I think being quick to, in some cases, comfort or validating whatever feelings are being brought to the conversation, acknowledging your spouse’s emotions. That’s what I want. When we’re talking, I want you to understand that I feel a certain way, and again, that doesn’t mean you have to agree with my perspective or what I’m dealing with. It’s just

Aaron Smith (31:12):

No, but I could, I could agree with why you feel that way. Yeah. Wow. That would really frustrate me too. Yeah, I totally agree that that was not great. That was not nice. I could see why you’d be hurt. I could see why you feel this way.

Jennifer Smith (31:26):

And then going back to that immediate first response is just, are you doing it in love? Yeah. Or are you doing it out of another emotion, a negative emotion? Ephesians four 15 says, instead speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him. Who is the head that is Christ? So speaking the truth in love.

Aaron Smith (31:46):

So if we do gentle

Jennifer Smith (31:47):

Kindness,

Aaron Smith (31:48):

Do have

Jennifer Smith (31:48):

The truth, all of that,

Aaron Smith (31:51):

To slowly and prayerfully present it with in love, like, Hey, I just want to share this with you. I’m not trying to make you feel a certain way, but here’s what I believe is, how does that make you feel? What do you think about that? Presenting it carefully and patiently and lovingly? Or like you said, Hey, I actually don’t know the answer right now. Could I could, can we take a step back? Could I pray about it? Can we have time to think through this?

Jennifer Smith (32:23):

I think too, for the person who’s sharing whatever it is that they’re sharing and being disagreed with, we need to expect that our spouse has differing views and opinions and perspectives, and being okay to embrace a conversation where there is disagreement would help instead of being offended.

(32:47)
So I came across this article by focus on the family that was talking about disagreeing in marriage. So I thought I’d just share a little snippet from it. It says, Dr. John Gottman, a well-respected researcher on the dynamics of marriage, has estimated that nearly 70% of all marital conflicts are what he calls perpetual and essentially unresolvable. Why is that? Because the two individuals who pledged to become one are actually different people, which we’ve just been talking about with different temperaments, family backgrounds, life experiences, opinions, likes and dislikes. As a result, when you marry, you’re choosing a particular set of perpetual disagreements with your spouse. If you had married someone else, you would’ve chosen a different set of perpetual disagreements, unresolvable conflicts, or inherent in all relationships.

Aaron Smith (33:35):

So quick note, that book I always said, I was reading. Oh, yeah. It’s by Dr. John Gottman. Oh, funny. So when I read this quote, I was like, this is the book I’m reading. But how does that, what he just said make you feel?

Jennifer Smith (33:49):

Well, I think it makes sense in the sense that perpetual unresolvable place where you just, they’re like conversations that we keep coming back to in our marriage that do feel that way, where we just have a different set of viewpoints.

Aaron Smith (34:09):

But that’s bringing that up because that, that’s been a sticky point for you in our marriage.

Jennifer Smith (34:14):

Yeah. I don’t like, it

Aaron Smith (34:15):

Is not understanding why I won’t just be like you.

Jennifer Smith (34:18):

Yeah, I don’t like it. Why?

Aaron Smith (34:20):

I won’t just think like you or respond you,

Jennifer Smith (34:24):

But I see it

Aaron Smith (34:24):

And I tell you, I’m like, I’m not you. I was raised differently. Not that I can’t change, and not that I can’t have transformation in my life in certain areas that need it, but just in general, that’s been a hard thing for you. Totally. Because you come to me and what you want is me to respond the way you would want me to respond, and I respond totally different.

Jennifer Smith (34:47):

Or even at the end of it, like that, he was saying unresolvable at the end of it, I want there to be resolved, and it bothers me when there’s not. So how do you embrace, how do you be okay? How do you navigate marriage when those things feel left undone in a way?

Aaron Smith (35:03):

This is just a quick thought. I had this idea that there’s essential things in the church, like biblical essentials, and then yeah, it’s like, okay, we could sit and argue about what heaven’s like, but it has nothing to do in the face. But yeah, it’s non sic and Oh, we could argue about this and that, but are the things that we hold onto my way of responding that you just don’t like or your way of, because it goes both ways. Your way of bringing up something when it’s emotional and maybe, I don’t know, is that something that’s essential? It has to 100% change, otherwise, I’m never going to be able to respect you and love you and cherish you. No. I think there’s things that they might bother us, but we get to take a step back and be like, you know what? Yeah. I don’t have the right to just hold onto that.

Jennifer Smith (36:04):

To sum. That’s good. To summarize some good points in that argument, in that argument, in that blog article that I was reading, that was the first one, is that the vast majority of marital disagreements are just a difference of opinion and not a do or die moral issue. So that is why we can get over it. That’s why we can let it go. Well,

Aaron Smith (36:22):

And there are essential things that we must agree on, how we raise our children, what we believe about God, where we go to church. There’s lots of things that should be like, no, we should be in agreement. So

Jennifer Smith (36:35):

Yeah. Some of the other points are don’t argue just to change your spouse’s mind. Instead, focus on sharing your feelings and see if it influences a shift, which I like, and it also gives room for the Holy Spirit to move in them and build up that connection between the two of you of how you influence each other, because the other way is just hard.

Aaron Smith (36:56):

Well, and the other way is not loving, where all I want to do is just change your mind rather than,

Jennifer Smith (37:01):

Or just get my way or whatever.

Aaron Smith (37:01):

Share with you my heart. Because you are an individual. Yeah. I mean, we’re one. Yeah, of course. But

Jennifer Smith (37:08):

Another one was how you communicate matters. So leave out the snarky comments and admire your spouse for sharing, honestly, which I really like that finding value in the process of communicating and knowing that this could go one of two ways. They could agree with me right away and comfort me and love me and walk this out with me. Or there could be a disagreement, which should also be done in love and respect.

Aaron Smith (37:32):

Right. This last note, remember, disagreements can come with an underlying history, motivating the response. So be intentional to listen and ask questions that help unpack with your spouse, this is what we

Jennifer Smith (37:41):

Were talking about,

Aaron Smith (37:42):

What they’re saying. Yeah. Don’t assume how you’re coming to me could be full of all the text messages you just received and you’re just

Jennifer Smith (37:50):

Overwhelmed

Aaron Smith (37:51):

With, with what’s going on and it’s being dumped on me. Doesn’t mean that you don’t love me, doesn’t mean it’s just kind of happening. And I could try be trying to seek for that and figure that out.

Jennifer Smith (38:03):

That’s good. Well, that kind of summarized that. Yeah. Which I thought was a nice addition to what we were talking about today. One of the last things we wanted to talk to you guys about was just the role of prayer in promoting, understanding, and also reconciliation when an argument or disagreement does occur. So I don’t know if you want to share. Well,

Aaron Smith (38:23):

I was going to put an extra note on here is having, when the Bible tells us to pray without ceasing in those moments, I think a good practice for us, even if we’re not praying out loud, saying, Lord, help me understand, Lord, what’s going on? Lord, how can I love my wife

Jennifer Smith (38:41):

Relying on him love husband right now, that moment. Yeah, that’s good.

Aaron Smith (38:44):

But also at the end of it, or hopefully there’s been times where we just stop. We’re like, okay, why don’t we pray? Right?

Jennifer Smith (38:52):

Yep. Prayer dissolves that initial tension. Yeah. That you feel

Aaron Smith (38:56):

It’s humbling, like we’ve talked about in the past. It makes you feel, it makes you realize how small you are compared to God gives you

Jennifer Smith (39:03):

That heavenly perspective.

Aaron Smith (39:04):

You’re like, oh, yeah, okay. God.

Jennifer Smith (39:07):

It also gives us time to think about what it is we’re actually talking about.

Aaron Smith (39:10):

Yeah. Especially when we started telling God about it. It also, it puts our eyes back on Jesus. So prayers as we always talk about that is

Jennifer Smith (39:21):

Essential.

Aaron Smith (39:21):

It’s essential

Jennifer Smith (39:22):

To more essential than anything we’re talking

Aaron Smith (39:24):

About. Because not just learning to understand our spouse, but understanding God’s heart

Jennifer Smith (39:32):

And that God made our spouse with their differing views and opinions and preferences and perspectives,

Aaron Smith (39:40):

Fearfully and wonderfully trust in this Proverbs three, five, trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. Again, this goes back to the reason we pray is because we’re seeking his understanding, putting ours aside. So

Jennifer Smith (39:58):

The challenge for you all today, the encouragement today is

Aaron Smith (40:01):

Practice saying, I understand or I want to understand. Help me understand.

Jennifer Smith (40:08):

Help

Aaron Smith (40:09):

Me help you. Yeah. This is good. What should couples do who find themselves in a perpetual state of arguing? We were there. Oh man. We’ve been there before early on when there’s all the things in our lives.

Jennifer Smith (40:21):

Well, and we just know marriage can be difficult, and sometimes people experience seasons of it. Yeah. Some seasons are really long and some are short. It’s just, it’s a hard place to be. I just want, it’s hard to even talk to because I feel sensitive to it. I’m like, want you guys to know if you’re in that space with your marriage, I’m sorry. We are praying for you guys, and there is hope that you can come to a place where you can navigate a conversation and communicate respectfully and in love and enjoy. Yeah. One another,

Aaron Smith (41:03):

Remembering why you love each other. Actually dwelling on why you love your spouse, dwelling on their attributes that are beautiful and wonderful and good and pure, and thinking on those things. Putting those in your mind, not why they have frustrated, not why they mess up, not why all of those things, but focus on the good. Yeah. Focus on the beautiful, focus on the peer.

Jennifer Smith (41:25):

I would say though, there isn’t a part of this that you might need to take a look at and evaluate if you’re constantly in a place of arguing or tension or frustration with one another, and take time to really evaluate what’s the underlying cause of it all. Yeah. Because it’s not the subject matter. It’s usually maybe. No,

Aaron Smith (41:47):

It’s, it’s, it’s almost never the thing

Jennifer Smith (41:49):

You’re arguing about. Yeah. Maybe it’s a perspective that you have about your spouse that you need to let go of. Yeah. Maybe

Aaron Smith (41:55):

There’s, or destroy, maybe there’s underlying sin in your life, in hi, in their life, his or hers that haven’t been dealt with repented of.

Jennifer Smith (42:04):

Maybe there’s un reconciliation, and so you kind constantly just respond to each other out of that snarky comment way of being or frustration.

Aaron Smith (42:14):

I think if we’re in this season, if you’re in this season and you and your spouse are always fighting, it’s lacking peace. It’s going to take at least one of you to repent and surrender, not to your spouse, to God and say, God, I want to be done doing this. I want to have peace and joy in my marriage. I want to love my spouse better. Help me. I surrender. I’m sorry that I’ve been this way, and actually ask God and actively seek him to transform that part of you, and you can’t control your spouse but you Absolutely. Like I said, it takes at least one of you,

Jennifer Smith (42:53):

And part of that is also choosing to not be easily offended. And so you have to have self, like you said, self deal, self-control. That’s a big deal. Self-control over your flesh and your immediate responses. Right. Amen. The other positive to all of this is an encouragement to focus on growing spiritually together in some way. Whether you start praying together, maybe going through a devotional, do something that draws you closer to God and allow him to be the anchor that holds you guys together

Aaron Smith (43:24):

Well, and I think of that scripture that where it says to not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Yeah. You want your want to be transformed. You need your mind. Yeah. Renewed. And the way we renewed is being washed in the word.

Jennifer Smith (43:39):

That’s good. Well, we end every episode with a growth spurt, and this month we are focusing on growing by letting freedom ring life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, which is from the Declaration of Independence. Yeah. I just love that. So the question is, what makes you happy together? What freedoms do you have that you’re not really taking advantage of right now that you can be? Is it a hobby? Maybe it’s going to the movies. Maybe it’s just playing a sport or being present with one another. Do you have the freedom to go on a hike together? Go do something that celebrates your freedom.

Aaron Smith (44:14):

Awesome.

Jennifer Smith (44:14):

Does that make sense? Yep. Okay. Good.

Aaron Smith (44:16):

When you pray for us,

Jennifer Smith (44:18):

Dear Lord, we praise you for our marriage. Thank you for inspiring us to consider how we communicate in marriage. We desperately desire to do good to one another and support each other in life. We desire to be good listeners and share our, honestly. We pray we would fight for our unity. Please show us daily the ways we can protect our unity and build each other up. May our marriage reflect your power and love and amazing grace. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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