As a Christian couple of 26 years, my husband and I have been majorly successful in keeping our emotions together and not saying inflammatory things even when we disagree. We have truly tried to remember that we are brethern in Christ first, then lovers. What that means is the bible, and what is says about how to treat one another should take first place in our married life. We have learned how to disagree with one another and not start an all-out war. We call it in our house a discuss-ment. Meaning we’re having a serious discussion that is really close to an argument because are views are so different, but we are keeping calm. Discussments do not involve yelling! Here are some things I’ve learned about conflict with your mate (or anyone actually):
- Listen to the other person before you speak;
- No really, LISTEN.\
- Often we are quiet, but only see a mouth moving in front of us. We think about maybe the first thing they said and then, ONLY think how to defend ourselves. Next we think about all the arrows we can throw at our mate, and not really listen to what is being said about this matter.
- Don’t go to other people you need to confront with an accusation about them. The situation may not be at all what you think. Simply tell them how you feel about the matter or how the matter makes YOU feel. “When you said…” or “When you did XYZ… it made me feel hurt (less than a man, attacked, angry, confused etc.”.
- In connection with the point above. I’ve realized in life that a person can hurt you and still feel they’ve done nothing wrong. Yes, even after you explain how much it hurt. There are times you can’t make the person see “you should not have said or done that”. So rather than remaining angry at them, try to make them simply understand –it hurt.
- Sometimes we approach a person hoping almost that they break down and cry with us (Ok. So take the next ship off of FANTASY ISLAND!) Most people only see things from their own perspective anyway. More often than not, that other person has not lost an ounce of sleep about what they’ve said or done.
- Try to turn down the DEFENSE-O-METER. We all have it. Some more than others. That thing that keeps you in defense mode, refusing to acknowledge that maybe, just maybe YOU did something wrong or at least that you may be partially at fault for the misunderstanding.
- Don’t always assume that because someone is giving an explanation of their actions they are saying you are wrong about your point of view. This will usually cause us to turn the DEFENSE METER way, way up. A person’s opinion and point of view can be a very close second to talking about who they are as a person. It’s a touchy area. They may understand perfectly what you saying, but if you attack they belief system or how they perceive things you can often be begging for an ongoing battle. Listen to people’s point of view, acknowledge it, and consider. LEARN TO CONVERSE about points of view, not just tear them down.
- Everyone doesn’t communicate the same. Try to learn the other person’s mode of communication. My sweetheart is a very emotional person. He can get loud and not mean any harm at all. I am not a loud person at all. He hits high notes. I don’t. I use my hands a lot, he doesn’t. I’m the stone-faced one in the relationship. He is extremely expressive facially. He is very careful though, about his words. I’m not so much. I’ve learned that I can be too blunt, and I’ve learned to curb that and get the same point across without my samurai sword.
The other day, hubby did something that sent me into the anger zone. As he was trying to explain his thought process over the phone, all I could think of was MAN, “I’M ANGRY! It was a mistake on his part, but he proceeded to lecture me, how my initial reactions of questioning him about what had happened was not a word fitly spoken.
Now is our many years of marriage we’ve learned one another. He could tell I was purposely saying nothing. He says “you’re holding back aren’t you?”
“Yup”, I said.
“Okay honey, I know you’re angry about the situation, but I appreciate you not letting this escalate because I’m still trying to cope with the mistake I made”.
While he was talking, I went into La La land of prayer and asked God to help me because I wanted to say some things that I KNEW would start the zombie apocalypse. As a Christian, you know what to do, but that old man is begging to come out and play. I prayed while he was talking, because in my book, this was a time that listening may have been dangerous. What was more dangerous was the storm brewing inside me.
It was like God, blew out a candle. I could feel the tension leaving and a peaceful feeling washed over me because God helped me in my weakness. I simply said, “well honey, there’s nothing we can do but pray anyway
Bottom Line: Learn to discuss problems and come to a point of conclusion in an agreeable manner.