Communication problems are known to be one of the main reasons that marriages fail. Whether it’s arguments, disagreements, or issues swept under the rug for far too long, the list can go on and on.
What if someone told you that you could indeed have an argument-free marriage?
Well, businesswomen, Blogger, and New York Times bestselling author of the Happy Wives Club Fawn Weaver says it’s not only possible, but she can attest to it as she and her husband have lived it for the last twelve years.
After watching her powerful TED Talk recently, I had to learn more about this new book and how it could literally transform marriages all over the world.
I sat down with Fawn to talk more about the book and how this idea of an argument-free marriage was created. When asked what advice she would give her younger self about marriage, she responded, “Give more than you expect to receive…and you will quickly find that you will receive more love than your heart can handle.
These steps and questions to discuss with your spouse came from Fawn, and the lessons learned through her own marriage.
This is just a short glimpse into her amazing new book, The Argument-Free Marriage: 28 Days to Creating the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted With the Spouse You Already Have.
The Argument Free Marriage is available online and in stores nationwide. If you like the 7 day challenge below you’ll LOVE the full 28-day challenge in the book. BMWK EXCLUSIVE: For 48-hours starting Friday August 7, 2015, when you purchase a copy of the Argument-Free Marriage in any format (paperback, audio, or eReader), you will also receive a free copy of The Happy Wives Club E-book. Simply email a copy of your receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org to receive this great offer!
Day 1, Step 1: Plan for a Harmonious Marriage
Get clear about why you are choosing or why you chose your spouse. Understand that sometimes you’ll experience the “worse” before you experience the “better” in the early years.
The road to divorce is completely filled and laced with arguments. Divorce doesn’t happen overnight. It happens over a period of time.
Don’t fall for the newlywed myth and think that the newlywed years will be the easiest. The coming together of two hearts, two lives and two souls takes a lifetime of commitment and not just a few months or years.
Day 1 Questions: Sit down with your spouse and answer these questions:
1. So answer this simple but powerful question: What made you choose your spouse? Out of the billions of people on earth, what drew you to your spouse?
2. How would your relationship with your spouse be different if you didn’t argue? How would an argument-free marriage affect your children? Your family? Your own life? Be specific.
Day 2, Step 2: Understand the difference between a discussion and an argument
Before you can understand the basis of the argument, you have to understand the differences between an argument and a discussion. This one comes from William Jones on the Good Enough Mother site (republished on HappyWivesClub.com). What are you teaching your children about the right and wrong way to communicate?
1. A discussion = People take turns really listening to each other.
2. An argument = Everyone’s talking; nobody’s listening.
3. A discussion = Two people against a problem.
4. An argument = Two people against each other.
5. A discussion = Is about the situation at hand.
6. An argument = Is seldom actually about the thing being argued over.
7. A discussion = Is about an important issue.
8. An argument = Is seldom about anything except who’s right and who’s wrong.
9. A discussion = There are millions of good reasons to have one.
10. An argument = There is NO good reason to have one.
11. A discussion = Can solve a problem.
12. An argument = Never really solves anything.
13. A discussion = Ends when people agree on a solution.
14. An argument = Doesn’t end; it just waits to be brought up in the next argument.
15. A discussion = The people who solve the problem win.
16. An argument = Nobody wins.
Most arguments are caused by one thing: selfishness. Meaning, we don’t take the time to view things from our spouse’s point of view, only our own.
Day 2 Questions: Sit down with your spouse and answer these questions:
1. Ask yourself: What is this argument worth? And as Fawn asks, “is ‘winning’ worth the wounds?” Think back to your most recent argument with your spouse. What was it about? Now think a little deeper—what was that argument really about? Did your ego, pride, self-interest, or even past pain play a role in your reaction? Explain.
2. Who “won” the most recent argument: you or your spouse? What was the cost of “winning” in terms of your relationship, your family, and your intimacy with each other?
Day 3, Step 3: Toss out your Plan B
When you allow your marriage to start off with a Plan B, you allow that to distract you from your Plan A. This was also great advice that my parents shared when I interviewed them on their 46th wedding anniversary: begin with the end in mind. Focus on the long-term goal and success of your marriage.
Day 3 Questions: Sit down with your spouse and answer these questions:
1. Do you have any plan Bs? Any “just in case” thoughts? Examples include things like a private bank account, fantasies of being with someone other than your spouse, or thoughts of how much money you’d need to support yourself if your marriage ends. Think about all the things that could quickly turn into plan Bs if you aren’t careful.
2. Think through any plan Bs you may have considered in question one. Are you ready to destroy all thoughts and activities related to your plan Bs? If so, think about the specific steps you will take to make those changes (such as closing a private bank account, unfriending ex-flames on Facebook, etc.). Talk with your spouse and express your commitment to focus solely on plan A from now on.
Day 4: Stop acceleration before it starts
When something upsets us, we allow the voices in our head to accelerate our emotions…we allow small things to explode into much bigger ones. Before we know it, we forget where the argument originated from? By stopping the acceleration before it starts, we allow ourselves to stay in control of our emotions, as opposed to them spirling out of control.
Day 4 Questions: Sit down with your spouse and answer these questions:
1. Describe a time when the law of acceleration turned a small annoyance into a full-blown argument with your spouse. What factors caused the discussion to accelerate? What were the results?
2. What are some things you can do in the heat of the moment to “cool off” and stop the law of acceleration before it starts? Examples include going for a walk, taking a time-out in another room, working in the garden, taking a relaxing bath or long shower, etc.
Day 5: Timing is important
When it comes to living an argument-free marriage, the timing in which you choose to discuss certain issues is extremely important. Sometimes taking a break until both of you can find the right time to speak about the issue is needed and is okay.
Day 5 Questions: Sit down with your spouse and answer these questions:
1. “A molehill quickly becomes a mountain if we allow problems to continue mounting.” Describe a time when you have experienced this truth in your marriage. What “molehill” (minor annoyance) quickly escalated into a “mountain” (major argument)? What was the result?
2. Consider the psychologist’s two prescriptions for marriage: (1) resolve all issues and challenges by the end of the day, and (2) don’t have any tough conversations when you’re tired. What advantages would these two principles provide to your discussions with your spouse? How would implementing these strategies affect your conversations—and intimacy—with your spouse?
Day 6: Pay attention to the original emotion
This has probably been the biggest a-ha for me. You can prevent arguments by “simply” exposing more of our vulnerability. Understand that it’s okay to take a timeout from each other in order to keep from saying something that either of you will later regret.
“When we become angry enough to start arguing, we allow our original emotion, which requires our vulnerability, to be covered up by a more defensive and aggressive response”. – Fawn Weaver
Day 6 Questions: Sit down with your spouse and answer these questions:
1.Think back to the last argument you had with your spouse. What was the exact thing that set you off? Not the event—but the emotion. What did you initially feel in that moment? Hurt? Fear? Disappointment? Insecurity? Pay attention to that original emotion and write it down.
Day 7: Establish a “rules of engagement” for your marriage
You must understand your spouse’s wants, needs, perspective, and ben honest with your own. When you choose your words wisely, it allows you to “ease into a calm discussion instead of crashing into a heated argument” as Keith Weaver describes (Fawn’s loving husband of twelve years). I also love what he says about the need to presume innocence in all situations. This means that even if your spouse may say or do something that is not what you may have preferred, you’re able to give them the benefit of the doubt and presume there’s a good reason behind it.
Day 7 Questions: Sit down with your spouse and answer these questions:
1. Think of a time when you decided to ignore logic or sweep something under the rug for the sake of avoiding an argument with your spouse. What effect did that have on your relationship with your spouse? How is the “peace” achieved by ignoring an issue different from the peace that comes by calmly talking through and resolving an issue?
2. Define the principle of “presuming innocence” in your own words. In what ways could you implement this principle in your marriage? What effects do you think the principle of presuming innocence would have in your future discussions with your spouse?
If you truly aspire to live an argument-free marriage, I encourage you to grab your copy of the newly released The Argument-Free Marriage, available online and in stores nationwide and experience the full 28-day challenge to an argument-free marriage.
BMWK EXCLUSIVE: For 48-hours starting Friday August 7, 2015, when you purchase a copy of the Argument-Free Marriage in any format (paperback, audio, or eReader), you will also receive a free copy of The Happy Wives Club E-book. Simply email a copy of your receipt to email@example.com to receive this great offer!
According to Fawn, “The plan for an argument-free marriage is simple: stop the arguments, and then restore, revive, and reenergize the intimacy in your relationship. As you and your spouse learn how to implement that plan through this twenty-eight-day challenge, you will realize that the answer to the question, How in the world do two people with different thoughts, beliefs, and personalities coexist and not argue? It’s simpler than you may think.”
Another takeaway for me from reading through AFM and from watching Fawn’s TED talk is the idea that we must believe that an argument-free marriage is achievable and attainable. You have to believe it.
You can connect with Fawn on social media or through her website/blog, HappyWivesClub.com.
BMWK: How do you and your spouse strive to create an argument-free marriage?