Rules for Couples' Conflict
1. Clearly define the problem. Clarify what the actual conflict is first.
Then, see if there is any other reason this conflict is here: tired, low sugar
level, etc. (Prov. 13:10; 18:13; 22:3)
2. Quickly acknowledge the problem soon after the mistake and try to resolve
it. Don't hope the problem will just go away. (Prov. 27:23)
3. Encourage the child to explain and respond. Use active listening (parrot
talking). Repeat to the other person what you heard them say. Get their
agreement about what you heard them say before responding (vice-versa). Learn
to listen! (Prov. 14:33; 24:3-4)
4. Discuss only one thing at a time and stay in the present. Don't dredge up
past hurts or problems, whether real or perceived. Avoiding score keeping.
"You are late for dinner. I feel angry. I wanted everything to be warm and
tasty." Rather than "You are late for dinner as usual. I remember when...",
etc. (Prov. 19:10; 103:12)
5. Don't argue about details, e.g. "You were 20 min. late," "No, I was only
13 min. late."
6. Avoid power statements and actions. For example: "I quit!" "You're
killing me.", etc. (Prov. 17:27; 26:21; 28:16,25; II Tim. 2:7)
7. Avoid judgment. Stay with self-responsible "I" messages. (Matt. 7:1)
8. Be honest in your statements and questions. Honesty needs to be accurate,
rather than agreement or perfection. (Eph. 4:15; Prov. 12:19)
9. Don't confront when you're angry or stressed out (cool your jets). Learn
to identify your body's own natural signs when you're getting angry, stressed
out, overloaded, or about to shut down. Then help your children to identify
their own bodily signs. (Prov. 10:12; 14:17,29; 15:18; 16:32; 19:19; 22:24;
29:11,22; 30:33; Eph. 6:4)
10. Never walk out without agreeing to take a break. It is okay to
temporally stop when a solution is unclear. However, agree to resume the
discussion when your emotions have cooled off. (Eph. 4:26; Prov. 11:14)
11. Don't use the silent treatment. Nothing gets solved this way. (Prov.
12. Never threaten to withdraw love. (Prov. 28:25; 29:23)
13. Control your hands and tongue. Never use sarcasm or physical violence.
(Prov. 15:4; 12:18; 29:2-3; 16:13)
14. Don't use "hysterical" statements or exaggerations at the time of
conflict. (Prov. 29:11; 16:21,24)
15. Select an appropriate time and place. Don't make a scene. Never
deliberately embarrass each other or others by arguing in public. Keep your
arguments in private. Perhaps even away from siblings if necessary.(Prov.
15:23; Prov. 25:11)
16. Don't drag in outsiders unless each member agrees that this person can
help find a solution or help referee. The person needs to be someone who can
maintain unbiased opinion and someone who everyone respects and feels safe
with. (Prov. 1:5; 12:15; 19:20; 20:18; 27:9)
17. Surround criticism with encouragement (praise bombardment). Focus on
your desired expectations or positive changes rather than on faults. (Prov.
15:1; Prov. 15:13)
18. Speak directly and personally to your child. Avoid lecturing and stay
with concrete specific behavioral detail(s). (Prov. 18:23)
19. Initiate some type of loving behavior toward the child during the
conflict (i.e., holding hands, have the child sit in your lap, take a walk,
etc.) (I John 4:18)
20. Put yourself in your child's shoes.
21. Don't compare one child to another. Be aware of each others differences
and accept them (lion, otter, beaver, and golden retriever). (Prov. 22:6)
22. Give value and consideration to the interests, goals, and desires of
each person. (Prov. 29:7)
23. When you're wrong, admit it. Accept any blame for the past (Was the rule
clearly defined? Was it written down? Was there miscommunication?, etc.).
Identify your own contribution to the problem. (Prov. 28:13; 29:23)
24. Assign responsibility for the future. Make sure it is written down so
the child knows exactly what is expected of him/her. Then hold the child
accountable. (Prov. 22:15; 23:13; 29:15, 17; Heb. 12:9; Prov. 15:31; 1:8;
3:11; 13:1; 13:24; Eph. 6:4)
25. Resolve your conflicts with "Win-Win" solutions. Both agree with the
solution or outcome of the argument.
26. Forgive your child and do not hold resentment. End a fight with an act
of love. (Col. 3:12-13; I Peter 3:8-9)
27. Above all, strive to reflect HONOR in all of your words or actions
during a conflict. (Romans 12:10; 2:3)
28. Make conflict resolution a regular habit. (Prov. 13:24)
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