I shared in my last post that the Mrs and I had fights and the kind of stance that I would take in a fight didn’t help us get to solving issues any sooner. I hated having to fight. I didn’t like how it made me look out of control. I never did seem to have the right facts together my speech was all jumbled up as I tried to argue out my point and gather facts from the past at the same time. We attended a conflict resolution class that resounded so well with us.
“Be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger”
Now to the crux of the matter. Three “I” statements and seven “we” statements summarize this so nicely.
- I will listen first before speaking – Pretty simple isn’t it? Many times though we find ourselves talking in turns, but not listening when our partner is talking. As s/he is talking I am loading my gun with more ammo. Listening will give proper insight to where s/he is coming from in their argument. Words like “I feel” are great indicators of emotions that your spouse is going through.
- I will deal with my own issues up-front – Be sure to check yourself, that nothing you are doing is the cause of conflict. It could be something that you do intentionally or not. “You never” and “You always” are false statements that send accusation to your spouse. Try and avoid using these when responding. When your spouse uses them, take it in stride and listened beyond the accusation o the emotion behind it.
I will speak gently and keep my voice down – “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger”
- We will never mention divorce – Using this ‘rule’ as a boundary in an argument creates hope that “we can get through this”
- We will not bring up old, unrelated items from the past – We all know that this creates unnecessary confusion within the fight and throws the other party off.
- We will call a “timeout” if conflict escalates to a damaging level – The Mrs and I realized that we are both of very strong opinions and we both have very strong character traits. This meant that none would be willing to back down in a fight.
- We will never fight in public or in front of our children – Air your dirty linen in public or in front of the kids will discredit your characters and will also turn the conflict into a competition of ego and who can hurt the other more.
- We will never touch each other in a harmful way – violence will never get your message across.
- We will never go to bed angry with one another – Going to bed facing different sides of the room is probably the most lonely you will ever get in your marriage. This will introduce tension and disdain as now you sleep with anger brewing into something more bitter, you may wake up angrier and with the situation blown out or proportion.
- Failure is not an option. Whatever it takes, we will work this out. – This brings a team aspect in play. Working together and separating the conflict from your spouse almost, as though it is a third party, allows you to deal with it and be friends at the same time. It is easier to call a timeout, and much easier to sleep peacefully.
Fighting fair means changing your weapons from disagreeing to dignity. Remember, love is not a fight, but it is worth fighting for.
THIS WEEK’S DARE:
Consider coming up with some of your own rules of engagement or customizing this one. Propose them to your spouse and see if they are agreeable for the both of you. If your spouse is not ready, make a personal resolve to abide by these rules and give your spouse time to come around.
- Love Dare (samkitots.wordpress.com)
- Loving your spouse is loving your self (samkitots.wordpress.com)
- Re-kindling that hope for love (samkitots.wordpress.com)