Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Plan to Resolve Conflicts in Marriage

Resolving Conflicts - This works for us.

Here’s a plan. Whenever a discussion or conflict needs to be addressed:

Pray, pray and pray. Ask God for clarity in your thoughts and with your feelings. You don’t want to speak out of “emotion.” You want to be clear about your concerns, your issues, your hurt or disappointment. You want to have already thought through (with his kind of language) what are the issues of concern. You must be specific, not nebulous. In my Coffee Talk book I have inserted a Wellspring Listening Wheel that is helpful to use in working through these sorts of issues.

State to your husband that you have an issue that you’d like to discuss.

Like Esther, approach him with wise timing. It’s best to pick your time wisely ~ avoid the dinner table and avoid hitting him as he walks in the door from work. But, don’t avoid the issue. Make sure you have his attention (eye contact) and simply, say something like, “Honey, I’d like to talk to you ~ I have a concern, struggle, issue, hurt (or whatever) that I’d like to sit down and talk about with you.” Then, say, “When would be a good time to talk.”

If he says, he doesn’t know when a good time would be, ask him, “When can you tell me what time is good for us, because I know you care about what I’m thinking.” I’d avoid saying what you are “feeling,” as some men truly don’t understand the “feelings” of a woman. Also, saying that you know he cares is speaking and believing the best.

Suggest a time if none is being made. Ask for a specific amount of time. You could say, “How about Thursday evening from 7 pm until 7:30 pm over coffee in the living room….or at the coffee shop.” You are creating the arena and inviting him in. You are giving a clear intent with a time limit. If there is not resolve in those 30 minutes, a new “contract” can be requested and then negotiated to continue the discussion so unity is reached.

State clearly what the issue is. A suggestion might be, “Honey, I’d like to talk to you on Thursday night about my concerns of how we spend our vacation, or the words you used in speaking to me, or the relationship with your mother…or the amount of time you spend on your hobby ….or…..…”

When you sit down to discuss the issue, use good listening skills. Don’t interrupt. Take responsibility and do use “I” messages. The “we” is over responsibility. The “you” is under responsibility.

Don’t use sarcasm, attacking, blaming. Don’t piggy-back issues. Stay with the issue at hand. Watch your tone of voice. Watch the level of your emotions. Avoid the “never” and “always” words. Also, avoid the, “Why don’t you….?” That is interpreted as, “Why don’t you, dummy?”

Be affirming in what he does do that is responsible and good.

Grab God’s grace ~ He will be there to help you.
Remember, your husband is not your issue nor is he your enemy. The issue is on the table—not between you.

Then after you resolve the conflict - take the 30 Day Sex Challenge!

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Heart of Wisdom said...

Wise, Very Wise. Thanks for this reminder.
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Mrs. Taft said...

Thanks for the posts about this really really important topic. My husband and I both came from very dysfunctional backgrounds and have very few tools for healthy conflict resolution. We've been blessed with some mentors over our married life to help us, but a lot of people don't have that kind of help. These are crucial skills to learn for a happy, healthy marriage :)

singlemomforgod said...

:) Duly Noted!!!! I will hide this in my heart for those days when the cloud nine feeling seems to drop to a fog status!!!