Between Us: The Art Of Disagreeing

the tyners

My family was recently featured as The Coolest Black Family In America on Ebony Magazine’s website,  I love the way the article turned out!  The writer did a phenomenal job capturing the essence of who we are as a couple and as a family.  After being interviewed for almost 2 hours, she was able to perfectly sum up what really makes our relationship work in one sentence:

The art of disagreeing without being disagreeable has been vital to keeping the Tyners’ 12-year marriage moving in a healthy direction.

Read: The Coolest Black Family in America, No. 42: The Tyners

The art of disagreeing.  Hmm.  I guess I had never thought of our ability to communicate our feelings without having a shouting match in that way.  Perhaps it is an art. Although, our relationship certainly didn’t start out like that.

At the beginning of our relationship, my husband was a yeller.  I was no stranger to confrontation either.  With him standing at 6’3” and me at 5’—and a half-inch, it was like a rottweiler barking at a chihuahua.  Even though this little chihuahua could hold her own, with both of us barking, no one was listening.  This method of communication was getting us nowhere. So one day, I decided to stop participating.  He kept yelling and I would just listen. When he paused, I would calmly speak my peace.  Turns out, it’s pretty hard to yell at someone who is speaking to you in a calm, normal voice.  Eventually, he stopped yelling.  And we started talking.

But it didn’t take long to realize that even though we were talking, our words were still yelling.  In my post about making your relationship last, I mentioned how words can kiss you like soft lips or cut you like a knife.  Our tongues were sharp.  Our words cut deep.  Our wounds would heal.  And the next fight would reopen them.  As we matured, our approach evolved.  I guess at some point it finally clicked.  We were on the same team.  There was no winner if there was a loser.  We started to use our words more wisely in a way that would move the conversation forward.  We compromised.  We negotiated.  And, yes, sometimes we conceded.  Luckily, this evolution took place before our daughter was born.  Children should always be raised in a household where all members speak to each other in love.  We are her first and most important example of what a happy, healthy relationship looks like.  We are always mindful that she is listening and watching our interactions.

There will always be times when we don’t see eye to eye.  Times when I wish I could change a few things about him that annoy me.  Times when he drives me so crazy that I want to scream.  Then I stop.  I take a deep breath.  I remember.  I remember all of the miles he has driven to satisfy my crazy foodie cravings.  I remember that he was my rock when I was too weak to stand after we lost our first child.  I remember the look on my daughter’s face when he walks through the door after a long day.  My heart skips.  And I completely forget what I was upset about .

What are your tips for handling disagreements in a relationship?


2 thoughts on “Between Us: The Art Of Disagreeing

  1. Great advice! Some people can be married twelve years and finally get the memo on communication and others sadly a thousand and never get it. Thumbs up!

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