Make Your Point!

Growthtrac Marriagec Medic

Q

My wife seems to have an incredible need to be right. She argues and argues with me, but says she is just making a point. But every time she makes a point, I feel hurt and controlled. How should I reply when she says, “All I’m doing is trying to make a point”? I think she’s trying to make me think the way she thinks!

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A

Isn’t it interesting that when people “make a point,” it often feels invasive? Case in point: Just yesterday I had a man tell me, “It stands to reason that it’s time for the Republicans to win the election.” He insisted it was time for a change in the White House.

As I listened to this man opine, I felt increasingly irritable. What began as simple chit-chat soon turned into his monolog on the virtues of his particular belief. He didn’t want to hear my thoughts on the matter and seemed unaware of how pushy he came across.

“Making a point” usually connotes pushing our thoughts onto others. The result can make the recipient feel overpowered, voiceless, and powerless in the relationship. The listener senses that if he enters the conversation, he’ll be drawn into an argument.

Scripture has something to say on the matter: “To answer before listening — that is folly and shame” (Proverbs 18:13). The person pushing his or her point, opining to the dismay of others, is hardly taking the time to listen and consider the viewpoint of the other.

Here are some additional considerations for those inclined to “make a point”:

“Making a point” is hardly harmless. While many say they’re simply asserting an opinion, it’s often a “pointed” way of dominating another. It’s a way of commanding the floor, forcing your opinion onto another.

“Making a point” can be an act of aggression. You are overpowering another. You are commanding their attention and demanding they listen to you. In some cases, you demand they agree with you or shame them if they assert a different opinion.

“Making a point” is controlling others. While you may see it as benign, you’re actually controlling others. You allow them little room to be who they are. In some regards you’re insisting they become your clone.

“Making a point” lacks mutuality. When you insist others agree with you, you take away a critical aspect of a healthy relationship — mutuality. Scripture asserts the importance of each person being unique and bringing to the body his or her particular gifts. Every person is different, and this difference is what brings a delightful texture to marriage.

“Making a point” violates the biblical principles of active and effective listening. Scripture teaches us the importance of taking time to truly care for others, to listen gently to and respect their views on the world. There is no place for foisting our viewpoint onto others.

In summary, we are called to listen to others. When we answer before listening, that is to our folly and shame. We all must take time in our marriage, and in other relationships, to care for the views of others. This creates a vibrant, dynamic quality that promotes intimacy.

I’d like to hear your thoughts and welcome reactions. Contact me at drdavid@marriagerecoverycenter.com. I encourage you to read about our programs at www.marriagerecoverycenter.com.

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