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Marital Rules of Engagement
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.