Tips For Dealing With Conflict- Part 2
Today is day two on tips for dealing with conflict. The first tip is to make sure that we are taking the time to listen to our spouse when they are sharing. This means more then just hearing but that we are choosing to truly listen to where they are coming from.
Secondly we need to make sure that we are attacking the problem not the person. We cannot take things personally nor can we make them personal. Don’t use statements such as “you always” or “you never”. Not only are they an exaggeration but they are attack statements.
Thirdly we cannot be concerned with winning the argument. Think, it’s not about me winning but about us winning. Working through a situation or compromising can be a huge win for the process of becoming one flesh.
Choose to accept each other’s weaknesses and not just strengths. All of life we should be in process with God working in our hearts. This obviously means that we will all have areas to work on. The irony is we seem to be able to cover them up when we are dating but living every day with someone else, weaknesses can become very apparent. Instead of allowing your spouses weaknesses to annoy you, choose to focus on your own. Remember the verse in Matthew that reminds us not to point out the speck in our neighbor’s eye when we have a board in our own.
Lastly, when appropriate use humor. This is not always appropriate but when it fits humor can be used to defuse a situation. It can even help you to see how insignificant the thing that is being argued over really is.
Dealing with conflict helps our marriage be all it can be. This in turn helps our parenting be all it can be. Choose to make working through conflicts a priority for your marriage and family.
Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on the topic of conflict.
Tips For Dealing With Conflict- Part 1
We have already talked this week about some of the dysfunctional habits we have when we deal with conflict. So how do we deal with conflict appropriately? We are going to spend the last two days this week on tips for dealing with conflict.
The first thing we need to do is to go into conflict with the right attitude. This means if you know you need to talk about something difficult go into the discussion not with the attitude of wanting your opinion to be heard or convincing your spouse you are right on that issue, but with the attitude that you are going to work through the issue for the betterment of the marriage.
Secondly, we need to go in making the choice to understand each other. The goal of marriage is to consistently become more of “one flesh” with our spouse. Handling conflicts is one of the ways we do this if we choose to make the decision to use them (conflicts) to grow closer with each other. Disagreements help us see where the other person is coming from. We should never be ok with the status quo in marriage, we should always choose to grow closer regardless of what stage we are in or how long we have been married.
Finally we can learn from the verse Ephesians 4:26 which says, “In your anger do not sin: don’t let the sun go down on your anger”. There are two things to take away from that verse. The first is that in order to not sin in our anger we may need to time out our discussion in order to calm down and talk rationally. The other thing is we must deal with things promptly. That way we do not let our mind wander and either make a big deal of nothing or allow bitterness to creep in.
Check back tomorrow for more tips on dealing with conflict.
Listen to today’s podcast for insight on this topic as well.
The Different Dysfunctional Habits for Dealing With Conflict
We all come into marriage with different habits for dealing with conflict. We can also develop dysfunctional conflict habits with in the marriage relationship. We need to identify our habit and choose to work through it in order to develop healthy conflict in the marriage. Identifying these habits with different animals make them easier to remember.
The first is the Turtle. The Turtle is very good at retreating into their shell and giving the silent treatment. Another unhealthy conflict habit we’ve mentioned before and that is the Prairie Dog. That habit dodges the real topic by either using humor or changing the subject. The Chimpanzee gets overly emotional when topics are brought up. They either dissolve into instant tears or over react to the situation. Another animal we have discussed previously is the Porcupine. The Porcupine is quick to get angry and throw verbal barbs at the other person. The Ant uses its business as a defense mechanism to conflict. It is either always to busy to talk through things or uses the amount on its plate as an excuse for behavior. The Skunk heaps guilt on the other person by using statements like “you always” or digging up things from the past. Finally the Squirrel will bury or store up all the issues until they explode and everything comes pouring out.
Identify yourself in one of these conflict habits and choose to make a change!
Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on this topic.
What Is Unhealthy Conflict?
Yesterday we talked about the fact that conflicts in the marriage are not unhealthy and should be expected. It is how we deal with conflict that can be unhealthy. So then what is unhealthy conflict?
The first way we can deal with conflict in an unhealthy way is actually to not deal with it. So choose to ignore conflict or “sweep it under the rug.” Dealing with conflict in this way can lead to bitterness and anger toward each other. Which would be tragic if it was over a misunderstanding. Think about conflict like this, it is a small cut that if cleaned, or discussed, it is no big deal. If it is left alone it can get dirty and infected and ultimately cause a major problem.
The second way we deal with conflict unhealthily is but making assumptions. If our spouse does something to hurt our feelings we jump to the conclusion that we are just not important to them or they don’t love us anymore. When it may have been as simple as we just did not express to our spouse our expectations or desires. Remember neither spouse is a mind reader so we must express our feelings and expectations and we cannot attempt to read our spouses mind by making assumptions.
Lastly we can deal with conflict in unhealthy ways by loosing it. Either we can become irrational or overly emotional or by screaming. Choose to use the guide that God gave us in James 1:19, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on conflict.
How Marital Conflict Affects Your Kids
We are going to spend this week discussing another marriage topic that has a major impact on your parenting, as well as on your children, and that is conflict. For many of us the word conflict is a dirty word. We avoid conflict at all costs and that can be detrimental. Remember we are trying to build a team/partnership and in that there is going to be conflict. We did not marry our clone and probably in fact married our opposite so we are going to have very different thoughts on many areas. That’s OK! Conflict in marriage is not a problem, if we choose not to make it a problem. It is all in how we handle conflict. Disagreements are actually healthy and help us to get to know our spouse more deeply and strengthen the marriage if we handle it appropriately.
So how does conflict affect parenting? On many levels actually, first and foremost our children will learn how to handle conflict by observing us. So handling marital conflict appropriately will actually help our children’s future. Handling conflict inappropriately can cause damage. Many times it affects children deeply when their parents are constantly fighting. Their safe place, the home, becomes a war zone and no longer their sanctuary. Another reason conflict effects parenting is because if we cannot handle conflicts appropriately then we cannot make team decisions as parents. That is why we will spend the rest of this week on the important topic of conflict in the marriage.
Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on conflict.