I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess there’s something you and your girlfriend or boyfriend don’t quite see eye to eye on. Maybe it’s something small like your favorite movie genre. Or maybe it’s something bigger like having children after your married.
Here’s the important question to ask yourself: Does your boyfriend or girlfriend know that you disagree with him or her?
If your significant other doesn’t, that’s not unusual. A lot of dating couples avoid arguing about things they don’t agree on. We tend to let love abound rather than risk a big fight that might lead to a breakup.
But what if you’re hurting your relationship by avoiding arguments? Here are five ways avoiding arguments can ruin your relationship.
1. You’re not being honest about who you are.
Do you really love country music, or are you just pretending to for her? Maybe you don’t want to live in a tiny home in the woods someday, but does he know that?
Avoiding disagreements disguises who you really are. What you like and what you enjoy doing are part of who you are. So if you’re doing everything your partner enjoys but it’s really not your thing, then you should speak up.
Don’t avoid discussing something because you think it might be a deal breaker. If it is, full disclosure is great before things get too serious and major heartbreak is on the line.
Like the punchline of so many romantic comedies, you can only keep your feelings hidden for so long before the truth comes out. And when your girlfriend or boyfriend finds out, it’s going to hurt your relationship — maybe even worse than the truth would have in the first place.
2. You’re not trusting or being trustworthy.
Avoiding arguments doesn’t create trust. On the contrary, it communicates to your partner that you don’t trust her. You don’t trust that her love and fidelity for you has no limits.
My wife knows she can share anything with me. And one thing she shares is that she doesn’t agree with me sometimes.
For instance, I was ready to fight tooth and nail with our landlord last year over a carpet cleaning fee. My wife agreed the fee was ridiculous. However, she disagreed with my “righteous indignation” as I stood up for the “principle of the matter.”
At first, I was hurt that she didn’t agree with my position. But by voicing her disagreement she demonstrated how trustworthy she is. She loves me and she only wants what’s best for me. So when she disagrees with me, I trust that she has a loving reason to do so and she trusts me to accept that.
3. You’ll fight about it eventually.
Sooner or later, that argument you’ve been avoiding will come to the surface. And when it does, it will be more destructive in your relationship than it would have been if you faced it earlier. Your dishonesty and lack of trust will result in more than hurt feelings — you’ll cause heartbreaking pain due to unsurmountable doubt.
What else do we disagree on that we haven’t wrestled over? Is our relationship built upon a solid foundation, or have we avoided more arguments like this one? Do we know each other as well as we think we do?
Doubt is uncompromising. Once doubt begins to muddy the waters of a relationship, it’s nearly impossible to restore complete transparency. It may not be easy, but it’s better to maintain clarity from the beginning by voicing your thoughts when you disagree.
4. You’re setting unrealistic expectations.
I hardly ever argued with my wife before we were married. Now we argue about something every week. Our arguments rarely get heated to the point of fighting, but we do disagree with each other and we’re not afraid to say so.
If you never argue with your boyfriend or girlfriend, then you should start. Because that’s what married couples do. And it’s a good thing. Relationships between two sinful people aren’t perfect. You’re not always going to get along with your partner, and it’s important to know what to say and do when you don’t. Arguing helps relationships grow and flourish through greater understanding and compromise.
So, if you have a perfect, argument-free relationship with someone, then dig deeper. There’s little to argue about in a shallow, superficial relationship. If you’re arguing, that’s a good sign that you and your partner are invested in the relationship and taking things seriously.
5. You’re not practicing healthy conflict resolution.
One of the reasons marriages fall apart and couples divorce is they don’t practice healthy conflict resolution before they tie the knot.
Wouldn’t you want to know the person your dating has a tendency to hold grudges or always plays the victim? You’ll never know that as long as you avoid disagreements and arguments while you’re dating.
In Colossians 3:13, Paul called us to be “bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other.” This is an important part of putting on the new self in Christ and putting off the old self that entails malice, slander and lying to one another (vv. 8-9).
If you have a complaint against your boyfriend or girlfriend, Paul doesn’t say bear it alone and just forgive him. He says bear it together and forgive each other.
Be honest and talk about it when you don’t see eye to eye. Don’t just glance over it and trust that it will sort itself out. Rather, trust your partner to respond to your honesty with love, then find a healthy compromise and bear with each other’s differences, giving forgiveness when it’s needed.