holding hands - staying united during marital disagreements

Marital Disagreements – Don’t Air Your Dirty Laundry in Public

MattCommunication, Marriage Health, Patience

Know the right time and place to tackle marital disagreements.

Pop quiz: What’s one of the most awkward things to endure? Is it:

  1. Accidentally telling your boss “I love you” before you get off the phone.
  2. Having someone point out to you that you’re pants are unzipped.
  3. Having someone point out that you forgot to wear pants.
  4. Watching a married couple fight in public.

Sure, it might be a close race between a couple of those options. But there isn’t anything that’s much worse than having to see a married couple squabbling in front of complete strangers or people they know well.

How does that happen, anyway?

Two possibilities emerge. It could be you that you think so much of your own interests and point of view that you believe your spouse needs to hear what you have to say right now and you don’t care who hears it.

The other side of that coin is that you may think so little of your spouse’s point of view or interests that you choose to let them know right then, at all costs.

Notice what sticks out in both of those scenarios? It’s all about you. This mindset is a problem, especially when you begin involving people who don’t even know you.

What happened to public decorum? Shoot, what happened to manners in private?

There’s something to be said for keeping your mouth shut if you can’t say something sweet. Sometimes, in marriage, just take one for the team. Don’t openly disagree with your spouse in front of other people. It only makes you look bad to air your marital disagreements in public, and it can be a real buzzkill for those around you.

And another thing…

It’s also helpful when you show interest in the things that get your spouse’s motor running. Go to events and places that are important to them. Sure, the Monster Truck rally isn’t your idea of a perfect evening. Yeah, that art gallery opening may not thrill you, but your spouse likes it. Hopefully, you like them enough to show interest in things that charge them up.

A few helpful hints:

  1. Study the things that are interesting to your spouse and ask them questions based on what you read. It’s highly likely that if you can converse intelligently about their favorite works of art, you’ll win some points. By the same token, it may give your honey’s heart a thrill if you know that Max-D overtook Grave Digger in the Stadium Championship Series in February of 2014.
  2. Ask questions when they talk about the things that interest them. You can probably only say “that’s nice” or “oh, I didn’t know that” so many times before your spouse realizes your interest isn’t genuine. There’s a solution for that. Be authentically interested. They’re sharing this part of their life with you because they want to. They’re trying to let you in on who they are.
  3. Don’t minimize their interests in front of others. If your spouse has always had a dream to open up a hot dog stand and they bring it up often in conversation with others, let them give it a go. Get over your embarrassment that they know the best type of mustard for a specific style hot dog. Try to love that they love it because you love them.

Two different ends of the spectrum, but the same result. When you let your spouse save face by working out your marital disagreements in private, you protect them—and everyone else—from embarrassment. And when you do things they like to do, you show the world that your spouse is exceptional and you love being with them.

Both strategies can help you stay united in a world that, if you’re not careful, can drive you apart.

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About the Author


Matt Brock has been married to Holly since 1999. When he's not involved in helping nonprofits tell their story he likes writing and traveling. He likes exercise less but needs to do it more.