Real-Life Dating: Arguing with the Person You Love
The first stage of romance—the enchantment stage—is the most exciting. And the most dangerous.
Do you remember the story of Romeo and Juliet? Their entire romance occurred in the enchantment stage, where everything is wonderful and logic gets pushed aside.
In this stage of romance, the thought of arguing with your newfound love seems ridiculous.
“What? I would never argue with this person! We are a PERFECT match.”
But give it time, and the couple who was once so giddy in love starts to experience a natural change.
The second stage of romance—the adjustment stage—exposes our flaws. We begin to see our partners for who they really are, and they also begin to see us more clearly. The relationship is not as easy anymore, and we begin to experience challenges.
One of those challenges is arguing. The couple who thought they would never argue—well, they argue now. They might even argue a lot.
When a couple starts arguing more, it is not a sign the relationship is going to fail.
It could be much simpler than that—the couple is seeing each other’s faults now, and they need to figure out how to make it through this stage and into the next: mature love.
Here are a few tips for those of you who are “adjusting” with your partner.
1. Deal with the Issues as They Come
Relationship is a key area of God’s heart:
God is love (1 John 4:8).
We were created to look like Jesus (Rom. 8:29), so we get to love others like He does.
He wants us to live in peace with one another, experiencing all the benefits of unity (Ps. 133).
Therefore, if an issue pops up in our relationship, we don’t need to worry. Why not? Because God wants to help us take care of it.
Over time small issues have a way of becoming big issues. They start as ants that eventually turn into elephants. We don’t have to let them get that far.
If there’s something you need to talk about with your significant other, here are a few points to keep in mind:
1. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you figure out what is actually bugging you in this situation. Go deep with that question, because addressing a “surface” issue won’t fix what really needs to be fixed.
2. Anytime you bring up an issue or “pain point” in your relationship, try to do it in a loving way that reflects God’s heart. Ask Him to help you, and challenge yourself to learn how to speak with love.
3. Keep in mind there is a time and place for deep conversations. Bringing something up at the movie theater or at a baseball game probably isn’t a good idea.
4. Seek out communication tools if you need them. These are things like conversation scripts, key questions you can ask to deepen conversations, etc.
2. Understand What’s Happening in Your Heart
Have you ever gotten annoyed at yourself because you know an issue isn’t a big deal, and yet it seems like a big deal to you? So you’re annoyed not at the other person but at yourself.
“Why in the world is this bugging me? I love this person—this shouldn’t be a big deal. But somehow it’s become a big deal! What’s going on?”
Sometimes small things trigger us because God wants to do a deeper work in our hearts. He wants to heal how we act, what we think, and how we think.
Our reaction to the person we love is often a mirror of what’s going on in our hearts:
A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. (Luke 6:45 NIV)
Anytime you find yourself getting annoyed with the person you love, it is a great opportunity to sit down with God, ask for wisdom, and figure out what’s really going on inside you.
3. Know the Difference Between Small Annoyances and Red Flags
A huge chasm exists between arguing with your loved one and noticing an issue in that person’s character. One is something you can deal with. The other is a red flag you should pay attention to. Character issues shouldn’t be ignored.
In his article “5 Red Flags to Consider Before Marriage,” Kris Vallotton writes:
Several years ago, I was one of the primary marriage counselors at Bethel Church. In that time, I saw my share of broken relationships and marriages that were facing seemingly impossible situations. As I observed the disappointments, betrayals, and torments plaguing the couples in my office, I learned that many of the challenges they were facing could have been avoided by paying attention to the red flags that inevitably fluttered before their eyes prior to the wedding day.
When you notice a red flag, talk to God about it and see what He says. Ask Him for wisdom, and get counsel from trusted friends and mentors.
4. Understand That Conflict Is Normal in a Relationship
Arguing with the person you love is a normal part of life. Conflict is standard and even expected—it’s just a way of growing and learning more about each other.
As you see conflict for what it is—not as a thing to be feared, but as an opportunity for growth—you can use it to help find better answers than you had before. You get to love your partner in new ways and figure out what they really need.
Interested in reading more? Here are a few other articles on related topics:
For more information on sex, marriage, and finding the person who is right for you, get a copy of Becoming the One by Salomé Roat. Click here to learn more.