Farming Families – Agree to Disagree

There comes a time in any relationship when great minds do not think alike.  How disagreements are handled directly impacts the relationship in the future.  When you work and live with someone all day, every day it’s not a matter of if you will disagree, but when.  I was at a leadership workshop where we talked about stress in the workplace.  I said the biggest source of stress was my husband.  Audible gasps were heard at our table.  I had to reassure them that my marriage was just fine, but I live and work with him and we are two different people.  There’s bound to be stress and disagreements!

Here are some things to keep in mind when experiencing a disagreement:

1.  “Doctor, heal thyself!” – In other words, analyze your feelings first.  Why do you not agree with the other person?  Often times, the reason we don’t agree is based in pride.  I could have done it better.  I should have done it first.  I should have been asked before it was done.  All are rooted in pride.  Is this about you or about them?

2.  “Does this REALLY matter?” – And be honest about this one.  I’ve been in working relationships with individuals who loved to pick a fight.  Who would look for every opportunity to criticize, disagree, or argue.   Does it matter if Hubby soaks the dishes for a whole day before he washes them?  I guess it shouldn’t, if he washes them.  But it’s not the way I would do it and that little word “I” is such a hard thing to get over.

3.  “Listen, don’t just hear” – The first rule in a disagreement is “stop talking”.  If you’re talking, you aren’t listening.  Listen first, don’t just hear and try to formulate your rebuttal.  When we actually listen, we may find out we really don’t disagree at all.

4.  “Hold your horses” – When involved in a disagreement, it’s easy to lose your temper.  (Pot, meet kettle.)  I am most guilty of this one.  I understand it, why can’t you?  In my experience, 90% of my disagreements are because the other person didn’t understand what I meant or why I did something or my expectations.  And whose fault is that?  Mine, and only mine.

5.  “I’m sorry is not a four letter word” – It is no sign of weakness to apologize.  In fact, it takes a stronger person to admit wrongdoing.  Only a fool continues to argue, a wise man repairs the relationship.

6.  “Forgive and Forget” – When you have navigated through the disagreement (and sometimes that takes time), remember to forget.  Nothing escalates a disagreement faster than bringing up old ones.  I’ve done some dumb things, but Hubby doesn’t bring them up in an argument.  I do the same for him.  Focus on the task at hand and let bygones be (truly) bygones.

Day 8 Homework:  Which area is difficult for you?  What areas are difficult for those in your farming relationships?

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