7 ways to lose an argument with your spouse

7 ways to lose an argument with your spouse March 4, 2015


Early in my marriage, I lost every argument.

I lost because I was approaching the disagreement in the wrong way. I approached every disagreement more concerned with my pride and my own selfish agenda than I was with protecting and serving my bride.

Since those painful, early mistakes that wounded my sweet wife and created unnecessary frustration for us both, I’ve learned one of the most powerful marriage principles on earth…In every disagreement with your spouse, there’s not a “winner” and a “loser.” You are united in everything, so you will either win together or lose together. You must work together with mutual respect to find a solution where you both win.

Dave Willis DaveWillis.org marriage disagreement same team quote

I talk more about how to “win” an argument with your spouse in this funny 2-minute video you can watch by clicking here.

I’ve identified seven of the most common mistakes married couples make that keep them from winning together. I’ve made some of these mistakes in my own marriage, and I can personally testify to the pain they cause.

If you want to work through disagreements with your spouse in a healthy way, avoid these seven mistakes. (In no particular order.)

1. Saying “nothing is wrong” when something is wrong.

Nothing ever got resolved though the passive-aggressive game of making your spouse guess what’s wrong or silently punishing them for not knowing what’s wrong already. Your spouse isn’t a psychic. Clearly define the problem if you hope to clearly define a solution.

For more on healthy communication in marriage, check out our FREE video series on The 4 Pillars of a Strong Marriage. 

2. Vent to your friends about it.

There are few things more toxic to a marriage than talking about all your marriage issues with people outside your marriage. It may feel good in the moment to vent, but it always creates a mess afterwards. It breaks your spouse’s trust and does nothing to resolve your issues.

3. Post it on social media.

As a rule, you’d be better off if you never posted anything online while you are angry. Once it’s out there you can’t take it back. Protect your marriage by refusing to air your dirty laundry online.

For more on this, check out my free video on How social media can help (or harm) your relationships.

4. Bringing up old dirt.

In a marriage where you “keep score” of old wrongs, you’ll both end up losing. It’s out-of-bounds to dig up old dirt and use it as ammunition in a disagreement.

5. Punishing your spouse.

“Punishment” in marriage can be anything from giving the cold shoulder, to withholding sex, to going out of your way to make your spouse’s life unpleasant. It’s a toxic cycle that creates two losers and no winners.

For more ways to resolve conflict and build a rock-solid marriage, check out my bestselling book:

iVow front cover Amazon.com

6. Screaming, cussing or name-calling.

We all get frustrated, but it’s important to remember that our words have power, so don’t use your words to destroy. The tone of your words will create the tone of your marriage.

7. Giving up on each other.

The ultimate way to “lose” is to quit on each other. If your marriage is in a dysfunctional cycle and you don’t know how to break out, I’d encourage you to check out SaveMyMarriage.com.

For ongoing marriage-building tips and tools, please connect with me on twitter, “like” our “Marriage” page on Facebook, and subscribe to my email list.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Patricia

    Perhaps a woman holds sexual contact not as a punishment but because if you are ignoring other areas of your marriage she just isn’t feeling it. Focus on that first then whine to each other and forget your “Christian” values to watch porn and cheat second.

  • Mary

    Since you bring up porn, divorce, and affairs in the same post as trying to convince wives to not withhold sexual intimacy, perhaps you should consider reevaluating how you are treating your own wife. Tossing out unverifiable (and frankly ludicrous) statistics doesn’t help your position.

  • Patricia

    Are you insane? Sexual affairs have nothing to do with how much or little sex your partner gives you. Selfish is lacking enough character to keep the commitment in both monsoon and drought, no matter what the reason.