78 -- Let's agree to disagree, is this attitude healthy to a marriage?
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Dear Dr. Smith,
My spouse and I often end a conflict by saying lets agree to disagree. Is this attitude healthy or should there be a concrete agreement?

Dear Agree to Disagree,
There are times in a relationship when both spouses can agree to disagree. It might be the most health way of ending a conflict. However, this does not mean, that the conflict is resolved; the issue might still need to be address. Agreeing to disagree is not an effective way of resolving conflicts. It leads to “Gunny Sacking”

Frankly speaking, this practice is an avoidance technique, the spouse is either burying the conflict, which will surface again or is ignoring the problem, which will frustrate the relationship. The following guidelines if practice, should help in effective conflict resolution:
•    Set convenient and appropriate times to discuss unresolved issues.
•    Express one’s frustration without attacking the other.
•    Listen to, and correctly mirror back the frustration without being critical or judgmental.
•    State clearly and accurately the behavioral change that is requested.
•    Validate the request and discuss appropriate steps to take to end the conflict.

When two people are committed to their relationship, they will seek to resolve their conflicts on a timely basis. Remember, do not triangulate the problem by bringing in a third party unless it is deemed necessary by both or it’s a professional counselor.

Have a peaceful marriage.
Dr. Smith.