Thursday, 8 November 2012

Fighting Fair

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
James 3:17

Found a great resource today about conflict in marriage. It was an article in Thriving Family magazine, a magazine that Focus on the Family puts out. 
There was a great article written by Dr. Les Parrott with his wife, Dr. Leslie Parrott, called Learn to Fight Fair. 

The article  discusses "growing through marital conflict." It hits on major points about apologies, seeing things from your spouses perspective, and how conflict in marriage can be a good thing. 

I am totally a fighter. I have never been the kind of person who can just sit back and calmly discuss a problem.  I am passionate, emotional ( I am a woman, so thats kinda a given), and I can be very bullheaded. Mr T really knows how to push my buttons, and he knows how to calm me back down. 

My lovely hubby is totally not a fighter. He is very rational and level headed and can sit calmly and discuss a problem.  I do know how to push his buttons as well but it takes a lot more pushing for me to get a reaction. He is very different from me in how he shows his emotions as well.  I wear them all over my face and he shows the majority of his emotions and feelings in the same way. I often struggle to determine wether he is feeling sad, tired, annoyed, guilty, sick, or angry, because they all manifest the same way ( or at least very similarly). 

I have learned many bad habits over the years on how to fight or argue. I have seen and been in my share of arguments from growing up in a house full of 4 emotional and hormonal girls with a father that couldn't stand our arguments. He hated seeing us having our squabbles and would often get involved to try to fix them which would, 90% of the time, just make them worse. My family has never been the greatest at apologizing, we often would fight things out loudly and then separate for a while so we could calm down. Then instead of returning to the issue to settle things and ask for forgiveness, we would pretend it never happened.  This often results in the same issue being brought up in an argument at a later date.  We are all getting better at this but I am sure there have been a lot of small things that turned into unnecessary larger hurts because of us all dealing with things poorly. 

I have seen these same things in how I argue with my husband.  I want to change and I want to teach our kids how to fight fare and how to deal with issues biblically.  God has been working in my heart and pointing things out to me about how I deal with issues and frustrations. This article came at the perfect time and I wanted to pass the link on for those that are in need of some tips for fighting fair. 

I actually had to take a conflict resolution class in college and have heard many of these tips before, but they were a great reminder. Even after taking a class on it, conflict resolution can be completely different when dealing with a loved one as apposed to someone you are forced to work with. 

5 Tips for Fighting Fair via Learn to Fight Fair by Dr. Les Parrott
  1. Start sentences with "I" instead of "You" - "I feel frustrated when we're late" is easier to hear than " you always make us late"
  2. Keep fighting away from your kids - unless you model how to resolve it in front of them.
  3. Stay clear of "character assassination" - don't assign negative labels to each other (ie:you're so lazy)
  4. If you need a timeout, take it - but agree on when you'll come back. 
  5. Avoid expressing contempt by rolling your eyes or being sarcastic - it's toxic to your relationship. 

The authors of this article also wrote a book called Saving your Marriage Before it Starts and it can be found to purchase here.

God Bless. 

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