How Making My Point Can Be Dangerous

Alpine Einsatzübung Winter 08
photo by oe2azm

Years ago when our kids were small, we had a habit of letting our tempers take us to heights of hostility and summits of stupidity.

What made this argumentative mountain climbing” worse was, we had our kids strapped to our backs as we clung to the jagged edges of our egos, anchoring into our opposing points of view.

Did we realize the danger we were exposing them to at the time?
I don’t think we did completely, but that’s no excuse. We wrote this distorted message on the tablet of their little lives, “The way you work through a problem is by arguing about it and sometimes arguing VERY LOUDLY!”

Our kids in their little minds probably felt like this occurred because, for some reason, when you are married and mad you either lose your hearing, so that you have to yell, or you decide to ignore everyone else’s feelings or points of view except your own.

I was reminded of those terrible days when I looked back over some of the journaling I did during the early years of our marriage. One account talked about an argument that escalated badly over where our dog pooped in the backyard! What in the world were thinking?!
All I know is that I remember getting so caught up in the heat of the moment and making my point known and understood to my husband, and vice versa … that nothing else mattered. Was I successful in making my point and being understood? Not a chance!
Did I damage my children’s sense of safety?
Did I fill their hearts with dread when any disagreement cropped up or even now crops up?
Did I alter their view of married love and respectful communication?
Did I stomp on any sense of how to control one’s temper?
Did I rob my children and husband of a Christ-like example?
Did I rip at the fabric of my marriage in ways that we’re still trying to mend some 15 to 20 years later?
I would humbly have to reply in the affirmative. Our arguments may have felt exhilarating on some level at the time, but oh, from what heights we fell.
Is this a tendency you and/or your spouse have when a conflict catapults your anger to new heights?
Just remember that, not only does your consuming desire to argue harm your marriage, it can annihilate your children’s hearts and poison their perspective of future relationships and marriage.

So instead of making your temper your god, turn to the One true God to help you calm the anger that surges. Step away and pray, cry, read your Bible, gain God’s peace and perspective. Then discuss matters when you can model a Christ-like, calm and respectful attitude for your watching children. I promise the view for everyone from that vantage point will be worth all the effort! 

“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” James 1:19 (NLT)

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  • You’ve made a really powerful analogy here, Beth. I pray that it hits the heart of couples who are battling.

  • Love that analogy of mountain climbing and the kids strapped to your back. My husband and I rarely argue but I’ve noticed lately the stress we are under at the moment is making us both short with each other and the kids. My husband crawled into bed last night and apologized. It’s hard for the cares of life not to spill into the every day. Thanks for this wake up call, it was timely for me.

  • Ro elliott

    beth…once again you bring such important truth here…I have said this a number of times…but this is one I will pass on to the young couple I am walking with through a very hard time in their marriage. thanks for call all marriages higher…to grow and be transformed into marriages that reflect God’s relationship with His bride. blessings to your day~

  • What a gift an old journal can be, no? I find it so enlightening to read over mine. I remember a time when hubs and I went through a similar stage. Thank God for grace. And perseverance. And old journals to remember and learn from 🙂

  • Angie in Guernsey

    Hmmm – food for thought. My children are grown now, and I’d love to ask them for answers to those questions – they’d probably be so embarrassed if I did! Still…watch this space!

  • Good advice, as always, Beth. When we don’t control our tempers it ripples out far greater than we realize. Thankful for Grace to rein us in.

  • messymarriage

    That’s my prayer too, Kim. It’s not an easy thing to admit, but I want to turn my messes into lessons that others can learn from. Thanks for your ongoing support, my friend!

  • messymarriage

    Yes, we can never underestimate the power of stress, trauma or loss to turn our usual way of dealing with things upside down. I’m so glad that this was a good reminder to you and I’m praying for you and your family in some of the challenges you’ve written about lately on your blog, Shelly. Thanks so much for coming by!

  • messymarriage

    Thanks so much, Ro. I really love to hear that someone can use what’s written here to help others in marriage messes of their own. And I’m so glad to hear that you mentor and help young couples in their marriage challenges. We share the same passion and that makes me smile!

  • messymarriage

    Yes, a “gift” that sometimes is like a bitter pill, to remind me of where I’ve been. But thankfully we serve a God who is the Great Redeemer of all things messy and marred. I don’t know where I’d be without Him. Thanks so much for your continued support and encouragement, Laura!

  • messymarriage

    I think that young couples are especially vulnerable to this problem since they are new to conflict resolution and have little ones under feet. Of course, the latter can also be a contributing factor to the conflict in the first place! 😀 Thanks so much for weighing in and encouraging me, Angie!

  • Becky Kopitzke

    Oh, my – this is convicting. “Did I damage my children’s sense of safety.” Sometimes I let frustrations fly out of my mouth while the little ones are in the room. Not good. Thank you for another thoughtful post, Beth!

  • this was so excellent …

  • messymarriage

    Yes, it’s a burden I carry with me to this day even though God’s grace has brought much healing–including in the way my husband and I resolve conflicts today. But it’s something I know many can relate to, even though they may not want to admit it here. But thank you, for being so your vulnerable with us and sensitive to the needs of your children, Becky. You have a true mother’s heart, so I know that you’ll turn any inclination along these lines around with God’s help in no time! 🙂

  • messymarriage

    Your comment is brief but powerfully encouraging, Linda! Thanks so much for your kind words!

  • Diane Tolley

    We are not arguers. My Husby is not, either. The concept of arguing is as foreign to me as . . . well, as anything. And our children are living as they were raised. Unfortunately, their spouses were not raised in the same way. But I’m please to note that many of these newest children are now taking our example. It makes for a peaceful existence. 🙂 thank you for sharing on NOBH!

  • messymarriage

    I’m glad you’ve not had this struggle, Diane. It’s a tough road to recover from. Thanks for coming by!