"Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others."
As in my home, one of the few things that I can guarantee is that all couples will experience conflict. Since conflict is a normal part of any relationship, learning how to resolve them without emotional injury is crucial.
Resolving every argument with your spouse may seem impossible at first thought. You may be thinking, "Yeah right--you've never met my mate!" However, by doing five important things, you not only can improve your ability to resolve conflicts, but can also decrease the emotional injuries as well. My wife, Erin and I discovered this while in the middle of a heated argument.
Related:Healthy Arguments = Good Marriages---6 Rules for Arguing
During my doctoral studies, I was required to take a class in research design. I knew I was in trouble when during the first class meeting, the professor recited a list of statistical concepts and formulas that we should know. My stomach sickened when nothing he said sounded remotely familiar. I rushed home and informed Erin that I was dropping the class. Unfortunately, Erin didn't think quitting was the answer and a major argument erupted.
The conflict might have lasted longer except my two year old daughter, Taylor interceded. "That's enough guys!" she yelled and walloped me on the backside with a wooden spoon. The shock of being reprimanded by our two year old caused us to double over with laughter. Once the tense moment had ended, Erin and I realized that our disagreement was starting to cause hurt feelings and emotional injury. We were definitely not abiding by Philippians 2 and honoring one another. As a result, we used the following four steps to resolve our conflict.
Four Ways To Resolve Conflicts Without Emotional Injury
1. Take a time-out!
For many couples an argument is a time of heightened emotions. Because it can be difficult to think clearly, physically distancing yourself can help your emotions to settle. However, never leave without giving an explanation or without agreeing to resume the discussion at some later time.
2. Communicate to uncover hidden needs.
Erin and I would not have resolved our disagreement without having made a transition from intense conflict to some type of useful communication. In other words, we needed to get past the arguing and selfishness towards some productive dialog. The best way to do this is found in James 1:19. "...But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger." Begin your communication with the mind set of listening and understanding one another. As you attempt to clarify the conflict, repeat, using your own words, your mate's position. Actively listen and understand what your mate is saying. In turn, this slows down the process and allows each person to feel heard and understood.