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Marital Rules of Engagement

Updated on August 26, 2010


Marriage is a wonderful union of two incompatible people, a man and a woman.  Each gender has their own set of strengths and weaknesses and when those two people decided to become life partners there is going to be conflicts.  The good news is that conflicts are healthy, even necessary for a strong and healthy marriage.  When conflicts get out of control in a marriage that is when it becomes a fight.  I have been married to my wife for thirteen years and have learned a lot about marriage and the conflicts of incompatibility.


Let it be known now that I am not a professional marriage counselor or a perfect husband, I am human and I have made terrible mistakes that in retrospect I wish I could take back all the bad stuff I’ve said or done.  Life has taught me one thing though; marriage can survive devastating events if the two people involved remember that they love each other through thick and thin.

Sometimes conflicts come about over some retarded stuff like the toothpaste tube being squeezed at the top as opposed to from the bottom, like the tube says.  Regardless a conflict may ensue and the most common thing said would be, “You always squeeze the tube wrong.”  Below I have received and am going to share with you the ten rules of engagement for marital conflicts.

Ten Rules of Engagement for Marital Conflicts


1.      State exactly what you are feeling about an issue, what exactly you think, and what exactly you want.  Never use assumptions, innuendos or vague statements.  Just the facts as you see them.

2.      Do not attack your mate.  This does not help in solving problems.  Assume that you are both doing something wrong that can be changed.  Avoid four letter words in your discussion.  *By four letter words I mean expletives.  Definitely use love and hugs and kiss, or kids or pets.*

3.      Address the problem.  Stay focused.  When one person drifts off subject, call them back to the central issue and your desired outcome.

4.      Don’t bring up unrelated past problems.  This just muddies up the discussion and can get confusing.

5.      Always and Never should not be used in these kinds of discussions.  Most statements that begin with these words are exaggerated anyway.  Nobody can be that consistent either way.

6.      Avoid using the word “you” followed by an adjective, like “You jackass!”  Even saying something like “You sweetheart, blah blah” can be misunderstood if said in the middle of a heated discussion.

7.      Manage your emotions.  If you become too heated, take a break.  Avoid drama—maintain an even-tempered, concise and clear discussion about the issue.

8.      Leave room for your partner to have their own opinion.  Understand that this opinion is as much about them as it is about you.  Make it safe to have perceptions, opinions and thoughts, knowing these stem as much from their past as the present situation.

9.      Make agreements using negotiation.  Always move the conversation to things that you already or will agree upon and an outcome that feels good to both of you.

10.  Remember the Lord in your discussions.  If you are religious or even just slightly bring Him into your marriage during conflicts to help resolve them peacefully.  Don’t always fight just to get your own way.  Be willing to negotiate so both people get their way.


Wading through the conflicts of marriage can be tough and at times you may feel like you are ready to give up, I say Never Give Up.  Marriage is worth the effort it takes to make it work.  Remember if you have a hard time with your marriage and you feel it is starting to fall apart, seeking professional marriage counseling; don’t wait for the end to try to fix it.

Thank you for reading.

© 2010 by Wesley Cox. All rights reserved. Copying without permission is illegal and will be prosecuted.


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    • wesleycox profile image

      wesleycox 7 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      Scarlett: I am honored by your response to my list of R.O.E for married couples. I actually received this list from a marriage retreat my wife and I attended. The retreat ended up bringing my wife and I back together and made us stronger than ever. These rules are still used today and will forever be. I posted this article in an attempt to share the wealth of knowledge that I was given. Perhaps someone's marriage will also be saved from it. Thank you for reading.

    • Scarlett My Dear profile image

      Scarlett My Dear 7 years ago from Missouri

      ~ State *exactly* what you are feeling... what *exactly* you think, and what *exactly* you want.

      *Just the facts as you see them*. ~

      I'm enjoying reading all of your hubs here, wesley. Your "Marital Rules of Engagement" are well thought out and impressive from a man's point of view... and mine, though I keep company within the female heart and brain. (:

      I think it's no secret that men and women 'think' and 'feel' differently. Men are gloriously all about the here and now ~ rational thought equals rational action ~ and Women... well, we are all about what happened Yesterday, Today and what we expect to happen Tomorrow ~ forever searching for the answers we carry within.

      Men are the Yin to our Yang. Balance comes in all forms. What better balance can be drawn here in this existence than that struggle to achieve it between men and women. I believe, to everything there is a purpose under heaven. Perhaps we all have much to learn from each other, though the paths we choose to find those answers are often on opposite sides of those heavens.

      Looking forward to reading much more. Thank you for sharing this! ~Scarlett

    • wesleycox profile image

      wesleycox 7 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      Thank you GmaGoldie I am glad that you read and enjoyed this hub. Number ten is very important in that when you are married and have God in your life you get closer to each other as you get closer to Him. Thanks again.

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 7 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      Very nicely done. Since I am newly married - I will read this one twice! Love number 10 - we changed our vows and included God more directly. Thank you very much!

    • wesleycox profile image

      wesleycox 7 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      ahostagesituation: Thank you for reading and commenting, I am glad that you liked the hub and yes I love that sentence as well.

      JJ: Thank you for reading, it is important to have that aspect in a union of souls. I am glad that you liked it.

    • profile image

      JJ 7 years ago

      I couldn't agree more. I loved it. And like your #10 rule when you have GOD in your marriage it is a threefold cord and can withstand more than one merely made of two. I really liked this!

    • ahostagesituation profile image

      SJ 7 years ago

      Wesley, your first sentence rules! Great hub!

    • wesleycox profile image

      wesleycox 7 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      Thanks Hmrjmr, I appreciate your comments. After learning these rules it made marriage communication so much better.

    • Hmrjmr1 profile image

      Hmrjmr1 7 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Wise beyond your years lad, great article Wes