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Fountain of Life with Taiwo Odukoya: One Bitter Argument Too Many

Disagreements and differences of opinion are a common occurrence in life. People do not often think alike, yet they have to relate or work together. Handling or reconciling disagreements and differences of opinion are therefore an integral part of any meaningful relationship. As a matter of fact, it helps to foster mutual understanding and strengthens the bond between the parties involved. And this is more so in a marital relationship. It however becomes dangerous when disagreements and differences of opinion are allowed to result in bitter arguments; this often spells doom for relationships.

Now, an argument, as we know, is an exchange of diverging or opposite views, typically a heated or angry one. Or better still, it is a discussion in which disagreement is expressed; a debate; a quarrel or a dispute. It could also be a reason or set of reasons given with the aim of persuading others that an action or idea is right or wrong.

Really, what do couples argue about? They can range from the serious to the not-so-serious. Often, they include issues about money, children, in-laws, leisure, domestic workers, or even sex. A 1991 National Child Development Study identified the most common causes of arguments between couples as the sharing of household tasks, how to spend spare time together and relationships with parents and in-laws.

Sometimes, the disappointment we feel when our hopes and expectations are not coming true makes us sad and angry, and wanting to blame the other person, who may be feeling exactly the same. This may make us abandon reason and get into heated arguments with our spouse.

At other times, the cause of arguments could be a spouse changing in a way the other did not expect or making promises he or she does not keep. This can lead to feelings of betrayal and being let down, and ultimately make a spouse irritable and argumentative.

Other causes of arguments which may look petty but are equally dangerous include snoring, leaving the toilet seat up, neglecting chores, driving styles, what to watch on TV, what to have for dinner, noisiness, certain time-consuming and/or expensive hobbies, and more. They may not look significant enough to cause trouble in the home, but like a trickle of water that slowly erodes a rocky cliff, petty arguments can diminish a happy marriage over time.

The truth is, communication is the lifeblood of every relationship, but constant arguments and bickering are toxic: they sniff the life out of relationships. Except handled with care, arguments can lead to (in no particular order):

Emotional trauma
Death (particularly where people get physical)
It does not matter who we think is guiltier of causing destructive arguments, we each have a responsibility to stop them in our marriage. To do that, always endeavour to:

Fight Fair
Maturely discuss your partner’s offending action rather than attacking his/her character. No name-calling please as it will only put your spouse on the defensive and cause resentment. Sometimes, people do not even realise they are doing something annoying and will appreciate it if you draw their attention to it.

According to Meet Beth, a marriage counsellor, one of the things she and her husband do to deal more constructively in the middle of an argument is changing focus from “telling” to “listening.” In her own words, “Often we’re just misunderstanding each other, and simply backing up to discover the “holes” in our perspectives can squash an argument like a nasty bug crossing our path!”

Be Empathetic
Maybe your spouse had a really difficult day at work or has a headache. The last thing he/she wants to hear when he/she walks through the door is you complaining about what he/she did wrong. Put yourself in your partner’s place and time your venting accordingly. Your spouse will be more apt to listen to your feelings when you consider his or hers.

Avoid Giving Ultimatums
No one likes to be pushed into a corner. Telling anyone, let alone the person you are supposed to love the most in the world, that he/she must comply with your demands or else…is not a wise move. Giving ultimatums is akin to one adult making the other feel like a child.

Avoid Arguing In Front of the Children
Children do not understand innocent bickering. To them, Daddy and Mummy are being mean to each other and it scares them. No matter what age a child is, it is unfair to make them witness your arguments.

Avoid Arguing in Public
Have you ever innocently gone to the supermarket for a peaceful shopping trip only to be forced to hear a couple argue loudly about whether to buy a particular product or the other? It is annoying, to say the least. Be sure not to be that couple who is always arguing in public. It diminishes people’s respect for you.

Avoid Involving a Third Party
Nothing makes for a more awkward situation than when a married couple tries to get a friend or family member involved in their argument to take sides. This can cause an extreme amount of animosity in the spouse whose side is not taken. You must keep people’s noses out of your business for their sake and the sake of your marriage.

Avoid Withholding Affection to Have Your Way
Withholding affection is immaturity at its very worse. How ridiculous to deprive your spouse of hugs and kisses just so you can get that expensive purse you have been asking for. Nothing makes a married person more resentful than being given the cold shoulder as a way of manipulating him/her.

It is much easier to meet each other half way than to completely submit to someone’s wants and desires. If your spouse wants to see a historical romance movie and you want to see the latest action film, choose something you can both enjoy, like the comedy movie starring that actor you both find amusing.

Do Not Go To Bed Angry
There is no worse feeling than waking up in the morning angry at your partner. This can ruin your whole day before it even begins.

Most couples agree that making up quickly after an argument may be “key to keeping a relationship alive.”

It is also important to point out that sometimes constant bickering can be indicative of deeper resentment between married couples. In that case, it pays to discuss and find a solution to the big issue. Counsel should be sought for major issues such as nagging ideas about money management, clashing parenting styles and questionable extramarital relationships, instead of dealing with the symptoms.

Now, do you always seek to win a war of words in your marriage? At what expense? Is it really worth it? Would you rather trade your marriage for that insignificant ‘victory’? Why not chose to be the peacemaker in your home?


About Taiwo Odukoya
Taiwo Odukoya is the senior pastor of The Fountain of Life Church. He is an avid believer in the role of the Church in the social and economic life of the nation. He is the host of The Discovery for Men, The Discovery for Women, The Woman Leader, and Ruth and Boaz, quarterly meetings that reach out to thousands of men and women from all works of life and denominations. He lives in Lagos with his wife, Nomthi, and children. He can be reached at



  1. Great advice.
    A good marriage is made, as long as spouses constantly makes conscious efforts, to understand and be better people for themselves and their spouses.

  2. Okay. #PicksUpPen&Jotter
    Saving it for Le Future hubby...
    It's gonna be just great.
    Thank You Sir

  3. This is so on point for me right now Cus I'm keeping malice with hubby over a silly argument lol. He has tried to make peace but I m acting up as usual. I'll go make him so efo and pounded yam Lool. But on a serious note its easier said than done, because sometimes u feel the need to prove a point. But I guess in the grand scheme of things most arguments are just petty. Anyways let me go and grovel

    1. Please dont use your marriage to make any point oh. Go about disagreeing in a sensible way before making a point turns to irreversible damage. I always tell my husband whatever it is let us sit at the table if its to handle the matter like a debate with a stop watch with 2 minutes of speaking time, until that matter is sorted we arent going anywhere. And when it is said and done we both apolgise and hug and kiss. It took me a few troubling relationships to have that resolve. My home should be the most settled part of my life even if every other aspect is a battle.

    2. You are very right miss pynk, Thank you. Even I know I'm quite stubborn and working at it but it's not easy.

    3. Tolu, I understand your desire to make a point - it's human to desire that. I also appreciate that you're looking at the bigger picture which is to resolve things. Thumbs up to you.
      To Miss Pynk, your approach, though unconventional, makes serious sense. Thanks for sharing it and GOD bless you.

  4. Chai, the epistle I typed just disappeared. There is god o!!! CEO

  5. Chai, the epistle I typed just disappeared. There is god o!!! CEO

  6. Chai, the epistle I typed just disappeared. There is god o!!! CEO

    1. CEO I saw the "epistle" in my inbox and reposted. Sorry about the disappearance jare. Dunno what's up with Blogger.

  7. True talk Tolu, it's easier said than done marriage can be very frustrating some times. Ladies if u find it hard to submit to the authority of a man, biko marriage isn't for you O. Cos all you will do is fight. I have come to know that in marriage even if u don't love the man, try to respect him, cos more often, that's what they crave for. There are days when I ask myself, why did I get married, the only reason it's easy most times to smile is because I married a guy who is worth the "wahala" in the long run. Issues can come up that even though ur intentions were noble the other spouse keeps or takes it to a different level. I recall having serious issues when my mother inlaw came around, she said she wanted to come for "omuguo" (forgive my spelling). After much reluctance from le hubby and I she forced herself to come. This woman does not lift a finger to do nada, she just watches nollywood movies all day, I manage to go to work and back, I still meet her sitting down. What got me MENTAL is d fact that she uses d loo amd never flushes, on a very bad day, I just got back from work pressed only to see the toilet in a state of Bisma Bisma, na there I PARA. I told hubby this had to stop and he shld go and talk to his mum cos I won't stand for this rubbish. He did talk to her but kept malice with me the way I reacted to the situation . I also decided to keep malice o, I was ready to maintain that malice for a whole year. Long and short of it is that we resolved d issue. Marriage is hard o, bitter-sweet. But with the right man, it's worth it. CEO

  8. He made valid points and raised salient points.

    Little things accumulate to form a bigger problem, like tiny drops of water from a leaky tap can fill up a bucket if left unattended. So are issues at home, when not resolved immediately.

    I always tell people that if siblings from the same womb can have issues which they resolve amicably, why do they expect anything different from their spouse? Afterall, it's love that is the only string binding them together.So, just as you respect and compromise for your siblings, do same for your spouse.

  9. 1. A successful marriage is the coming together of 2 forgivers.
    2. The man must be 'deaf' and the woman must be 'blind': It's not everything the man hears that he'll process and it's not everything the woman sees that she'll believe.

    These two lines should be applied by all married folks because it works.
    Believe me when I say marriage is hardwork, very hardwork! But the 80-20 rule applies here too! It's 80% work and 20% pleasure but the pleasure coming from the 20% outweighs the pressure from the 80% work.


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