Conflict doesn’t destroy marriages. It is the inability to resolve a conflict that is so destructive. It is often the harsh words or tone that are used during a conflict that is most lasting and causes hurt feelings to linger long after the conflict is resolved.
We have found that if couples will set a few ground rules for their relationship when they are in a good place, that they agree to follow when things get a little heated, it can save a lot on the lingering hurt feelings. Here are “9 Rules for Discussion” that are healthy to follow in any discussion or argument.
RULES FOR DISCUSSION
- Speak in a quiet voice.
- Do not interrupt.
- Do not bring up the past.
- Do not blame.
- Do not use profanity.
- Do not criticize.
- Use “I feel” statements, not attacking “you” statements.
- State your feelings, not your partner’s.
- Never threaten your relationship.
When you a recurring argument or something big that you are disagreeing on that threatens the strength of your marriage if it doesn’t get resolved, it is good to have a plan of action to rely on that will help you reach a resolution. Here is a time-tested formula of “Ten Steps to Resolve Conflict.”
TEN STEPS TO RESOLVE A CONFLICT
- Define the issue to be resolved.
- Set a time to meet. (Be sure to set it off a little bit so you have time to prepare for your discussion)
- Set a private place to meet.
- Each begins by praying.
- Each shares your position. (This is your opportunity to vent using the Rules for Discussion)
- Each points out what he or she has done to contribute to the problem.
- Each points out what he or she can do to help resolve the issue.
- Agree on a resolution that is acceptable to both.
- Write down the resolution.
- End in prayer.
If you would like to see a role play of this method, click here.
Remember, conflict doesn’t destroy marriages. It is the inability to resolve a conflict that festers and damages the marriage. Conflict dealt with in a healthy way, can actually draw a couple closer together.