How to Disagree with Your Spouse
If you never have a disagreement with your spouse, I applaud you! And I
want your autograph! Marriage is not an easy undertaking for anyone but
what truly important thing is? In the ward in which I grew up, the current
patriarch and his precious wife have an incredible marriage. This dear
sister has told others that she and her spouse have never had an
argument. She clarified that they had come close once but then they both
started laughing once they realized what was happening. I am far too much
of a live wire apparently. I don’t think that means they never had a
difference of opinion, I think it meant that they did not allow their tempers to
How can we share our opinions and ideas without giving or taking offense?
First, try not to be offended if your spouse disagrees with you. Elder Bednar
recently said, “When we believe or say we have been offended, we usually
mean we feel insulted, mistreated, snubbed, or disrespected. And certainly
clumsy, embarrassing, unprincipled, and mean-spirited things do occur in
our interactions with other people that would allow us to take offense.
However, it ultimately is impossible for another person to offend you or to
offend me. Indeed, believing that another person offended us is
fundamentally false. To be offended is a choice we make; it is not
a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else.”1
We can choose to allow our hearts to remain open in order to understand
our spouse better.
Second, approach the topic when you are both in a good mood, rather than
reigniting embers of discord.
Third, talk about yourselves as a team, rather than pointing the finger at
your spouse and what you perceive that he or she does incorrectly. No
one wants to hear their name smeared for every wrongdoing in the
Fourth, use soft or gentle language. Proverbs 15: 1 teaches,
“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”
Fifth, remember that your spouse is your friend. How would you treat a
friend who had a different opinion than you? Would you cross your arms
over your chest and blow out your breath then refuse to talk to your best
girlfriend? Would you slam the door on your way out if a friend asks you to
help him with something? Doubtful.
Our responses of frustration often times come from feelings of hurt,
mistrust, or disrespect in the relationship or from other circumstances
rather than after just one misspoken word. It is up to each one of us to
recognize how our own emotions and thoughts affect our behavior,
because they do indeed affect our relationship with our loved ones.
Not one of us is always right. We bring our differences to the marriage and
hope that we can find a way to make them enhance our relationships,
rather than allow them to pull us apart. We certainly can do that as we learn
how to communicate with each other and seek the companionship of the
Holy Ghost in all aspects of our relationship.
1 “And Nothing Shall Offend Them,” Elder David A. Bednar, General
Conference, October 2006