Respecting Each Other’s Views

Clearly, you and your spouse are not going to agree on everything. You may even be rather shocked at times to learn how your husband or wife feels about a particular issue. If it is something the two of you have never really discussed, you may have assumed that he or she felt the same way you do concerning the matter.

This happens often in new relationships, because you simply cannot discuss every issue known to man. However, it does help to talk about those issues that are very important to you before getting deeply involved, and especially before getting married.

Even if you and your mate put a lot of effort into getting to know each other before marriage, there will still be such issues. So, what do you do when something comes up that the two of you have very different responses to?

The most important thing to keep in mind is that your spouse is entitled to his or her opinion, and you should respect that. You don’t have to agree with your mate’s view, but you should not criticize or disparage. You should not attempt to shame your spouse into coming over to your way of thinking. It won’t work, and it will cause tension.

I think the way Heather and I interact here in regard to marriage debates might be a good example. In most cases, we couldn’t be further from each other as far as political views are concerned. Still, we not only respect each other’s rights to those views, but we also respect the reasoning behind them. We both try to offer something of substance, rather than taking a “you’re just wrong and I don’t want to hear it” approach. She makes me think. We may never change each other’s minds, and we’re really not trying to, but we do both give more thought to why we believe the way we do on particular matters after hearing what the other has to say. We also consider each other friends.

I worked in another setting where it was my job to counter liberal arguments with conservative ones. The idea was that both sides should be heard. The person that addressed the other side of the issues refused to even speak with me or have any contact with me whatsoever, even though we were supposed to consult with each other on the topics when preparing our work. I found that attitude to be extreme. There is no reason two people cannot have a mutually respectful discussion even where they fervently disagree on the subject matter.

Respectful debate is a good thing. It helps people learn to understand why others think the way they do instead of judging people unfairly, assigning motives, or jumping to conclusions. If you find yourself disagreeing with your mate, or in any relationship for that matter, do your best to debate rather than argue.

Try to offer facts and reasoned discussion instead of arguments based on emotion. While there is bound to be some passion involved, reasoned debate is always more effective. Again, you are not likely to change someone’s mind if he or she feels strongly about an issue, but there is a very good chance that the other person will respect your opinion even though he or she does not agree.

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