Saturday, October 12, 2013

Argumentative People

“I don’t think I’m going to ask her to marry me.”

I was surprised. I had been counseling the couple for a while and they seemed pretty well suited for each other. I asked why. He replied “She challenges everything I say. She has a retort for everything I share. She’s just so argumentative.”

As I thought about their conversations, I could really understand what he was saying. I had missed it because she was just so kind in the way she did it. But it was there. So I did what I thought a good counselor should do. I asked if he would be willing to confront her instead of walking away from the relationship. He agreed to talk about it with her in our counseling session.

What happened should have been predictable. When confronted, she argued with him about his perspective. Fail!

Don’t think men won’t do this too.

“He argues with me until he wears me down. He won’t stop – it could go on for hours. Can’t we ever do it my way just once? I can’t take it anymore.”

The truth is, it’s hard to be in a relationship with someone who is always challenging you.

Both genders can feel overwhelmed by the intensity of an argumentative person, leaving them feeling unappreciated and inadequate. Yes, two volatile people might seem to understand each other in the way they do conflict, but they are also the most likely to have 911 called on them. It is usually not a relationship builder.

Why might someone become argumentative?

  • I have seen families where this is encouraged. Debating is seen as a way to build strong kids: “Don’t just agree, push back and defend your position.” 

  • I have also known people who have overdone it when learning to “find their voice” and protecting themselves from being overpowered. 

  • Sometimes it is just a personality trait that has to be brought under the control of the Holy Spirit. 

Are you in a relationship with a disagreeable person and suffering? Are you a disagreeable person and are not fully aware of it? Admitting the truth is the first step to healing. 

Phil 4:14-15 Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.

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