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9 Ways To Fuel A Disagreement Into A Feud -- Part 2

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In part 1, we discussed the first four surefire ways to fuel disagreements into a feud. Most likely, one or even all of them hit a little too close to home for you, and you recognized ways in which you have been guilty of doing such. Here in part 2 we have five more ways to add to our list of how best to take a simple disagreement with your spouse and turn it into an all-out feud.

5. Broadcast the problem.

Tell your family and friends how unloving or disrespectful your spouse is. Tell your side of the story alone, and if you do represent their side of the story make sure it looks bad. Bolster the good you did, and do not relay the bad you did, except if that makes you look humble and honest as you confess a few little things you did that was wrong in reaction to what your spouse caused in the first place. Remember, most people will agree to the first side they listen to, so have at it. Try to discredit your partner so people will empathize with you. Then, when your spouse finds out the extent to which you badmouthed them and misrepresented them, that will ignite the stick of dynamite between the two of you.

Proverbs 26:20–21—“Where there is no whisperer, contention quiets down. Like . . . wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife."

6. Censor information.

If you have been unloving or disrespectful, make sure that information is suppressed. Deplete anything that incriminates you, such as your mismanagement of money. Deny any accusations about inappropriately spending money.

Instead, during those moments when incriminating information arises against you, change the subject away from you and onto your spouse. Quickly get the attention onto your spouse’s wrongdoing about going over budget. Put them on the defensive. Point out how unloving and disrespectful they have been, and how they have no right to throw stones. Censoring information turns a disagreement into a feud when that information comes out later on, which it most often does. Put your spouse in utter disbelief about your lack of integrity as a human being.

Proverbs 12:17—“He who speaks truth tells what is right, but a false witness, deceit.”

7. Avoid creative alternatives.

If another way exists that could bring the two of you together, avoid it if it demands a shift in attitude from you. If it entails that as a wife you display more respect instead of always claiming your husband is unloving, make sure you reject that new course of action even though it might work. If it demands that as a husband you show more love instead of always accusing your wife of being disrespectful, be stubborn and refuse to budge even though this alternate way of relating will melt her heart. Do not create new ways of relating. Stay locked into crazy-making. Keep on reacting in ways that feel unloving and disrespectful to your spouse, and keep accusing them of being unloving and disrespectful. Keep the Crazy Cycle spinning. This will turn you into a cat and dog stuffed into a potato sack.

Ephesians 4:2–3—“. . . with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

8. Never admit you're wrong.

If an accurate report is made that demonstrates where you were unloving or disrespectful, deny this. Give no ground. Make no confessions. If your spouse does not have certain information about what you did wrong with regard to overspending, do not confess the mismanagement of funds. Withhold information that points to your guilt and hurtful contribution to the disagreement.

Never assume nor admit that you are in the wrong as the one who started the Crazy Cycle by your unloving or disrespectful actions. Make no concessions or confessions to the possibility that you are wrong. As best you can, always blame and justify. This fuels the disagreement into a feud.

Proverbs 30:20—“This is the way of an adulterous woman: She eats and wipes her mouth, and says, ‘I have done no wrong.’”

9. Resist godly-wise counsel.

If you know any godly-wise people who might not favor your position or demeanor, do not seek their counsel. Refuse the suggestion about meeting with them. Close the door to getting their input. They might highlight areas that show you could be more loving and respectful, and this must not be permitted. In rejecting the idea of engaging a third party, this will effectively deflate your spouse. Their sense of hopelessness will certainly keep the marriage in a sad state.

Proverbs 18:1—"He who separates himself seeks his own desire, he quarrels against all sound wisdom."

In conclusion, these 9 ways to fuel a disagreement into a feud serve as a guard rail against going off the cliff with other people. Avoid these tongue-in-cheek ideas and you will not be adopted into the Hatfields and the McCoys.  

-Dr. E

Emerson Eggerichs, Ph.D.
Author, Speaker, Pastor

Questions to Consider

  1. Why is it so tempting to talk to others about your unloving or disrespectful spouse? How is doing so actually both unloving and disrespectful to your spouse?
  2. In what ways does denying or ignoring anything that incriminates you not help you and your spouse work through the disagreement?
  3. What creative alternatives have you avoided when you found yourself in a disagreement or feud with your spouse that could well have helped you get off the Crazy Cycle? Why did you abstain from trying them? Is it sometimes simply easier to just continue being stubborn?
  4. In most arguments with your spouse, do you actually feel you aren’t wrong, or do you recognize your faults but simply won’t admit them early enough in the disagreement?
  5. Why is seeking godly-wise counsel so much harder than finding people you believe will agree with you? Why is doing so actually much more important, though?