Cover 2015-03-15

Ron Writes

How to Win Without Arguing

Gerry Spence is a famous lawyer (Google him). Years ago, he wrote the book “How to Argue and Win Every Time.” I bought the book thinking this would be a good thing for a preacher to know. However, you should realize that it’s not a spiritual book in any way. Even though it’s not a religious book, it gave me a new insight and appreciation for a text that has often been thought of by many as difficult. “Wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives” (1 Pet. 3:1). Peter is admonishing wives that it’s best to win without arguing.

Spence tells this story about his wife, Imaging. “We had just returned from our honeymoon and had settled into our new home. The following morning was my first day back at the office. That evening I was about to go home for dinner, one that I knew Imaging had prepared especially for this occasion, when I decided, no, I was not going home! I had been in chronic trouble in a previous relationship for having failed to come home on time. Without realizing it, I was still engaged in a struggle in a relationship that was over. Instead of going home, I went to a restaurant where I met a friend. We sat down to talk over a cup of coffee. The time dragged by, but I was not going to be home for supper on time. I thought, “I’m just entering this marriage, and I am going to establish some ground rules the first night home.”

Well, I drank coffee and chatted with my friend until I was over an hour late for supper. When I came to the door, what I faced astounded me. Instead of being met with scolding, or with the worst-of-all punishment, silence, I was greeted with a big kiss and a smile.

“Hi, sweetheart. Your supper’s in the oven. I’ve kept it warm” Imaging said. She sat a beautiful dinner before me and sat down to keep me company.

“I ate an hour ago” she said. “I hope your dinner is all right.” And that was all the comment there was – no subtle questioning, no mild complaints, no hidden hostility, nothing but smiles and gentleness.

I couldn’t believe it. Surely this was all just an act. I vowed to give it another test. The next night, I again met my friend for coffee. Again, I was an hour late and again I got the same loving treatment when I came home. As I sat down to supper I decided to discover what was really going on with this new wife of mine.

“Aren’t you a little mad at me for being late for supper?” I asked.

“Of course not,” she said. She seemed surprised.

“Well, you had supper waiting and I was late and I haven’t even said I was sorry.”

“I figured you were busy at the office with important matters. Otherwise, you would have come home.”

“Oh,” I said.

“Besides,” she said, “you’re a full-grown man. Full-grown men don’t need someone telling them when to come home for supper.” And that’s all there was to it. She won our first argument without arguing, and I have never since intentionally been late for supper in all the years we’ve been married.”