Below are suggested resolving conflict guidelines to help you to honor each other while you are working through disagreements with each other.
We suggest that you prayerfully read and, glean through them. Then see if you would like to use these in your own marriage.
RESOLVING CONFLICT GUIDELINES:
• First, we will start by praying together for tender hearts and wisdom.
We commit to come together in a spirit of humility and reconciliation. This is all in consideration of the health of our partnership as more important than our individual interests.
• We commit to handle ourselves with maturity.
We are to be quick to listen and slow to speak. This is a matter of reaching for the goal of continually trying to better understand each other.
• We will speak the truth in love —respectfully honoring each other’s feelings.
• We won’t allow our discussion to escalate into yelling or name-calling.
And we will refrain from provoking each other by delivering “cheap shots”—sarcasm, innuendos, and rudeness which complicates the issues. If that happens we’ll call for a time-out. We will then come back together at an agreed upon time.
• We commit to MEAN what we say.
This is done so neither one of us is put into the position of being expected to read the other person’s mind.
• We will stick to the subject at hand.
It is vital that we do not allowing our discussion to sidetrack onto any other grievance at this time. (Other issues can be dealt with at another time.)
• We will avoid using “never” and “always” statements.
It is agreed upon that we are to seek to be accurate, truthful, and realistic in what we say.
• We will seek to express our own feelings over the matter and speak to each other in “I feel” statements.
Each of us is to refrain from using “you” statements pointed at our spouse accusing them of feelings they may not have. (An example of this would be: “I feel lonely when you’re gone so much,” rather than “You never come home.”)
• We will refrain from playing the “blame game.”
Plus, we will each look for the plank in our own eye —rather than the speck in our spouse’s.
• We will apologize and sincerely ask for forgiveness.
This is for whatever way that we have hurt our spouse and for whatever tension we’ve caused in our marital relationship.
• We will work to forgive each other as Christ has forgiven us.
We are never again remind our spouse of the pain for which we’ve said we’ve forgiven them. Plus, we’ll make daily choices not to dwell on those painful thoughts in the future.
• Lastly, but most importantly, we will end our time together in prayer.
We will give thanks for what we’ve learned about our relationship with each other. Also, we will each ask God to bless our spouse and help us to be a blessing to them knowing that is our mission because of our marriage vows.
We commit to follow these guidelines:
Signed: ______________________ and _________________________.
These guidelines came to us from various sources. Some of them were given to us. (We don’t even remember who gave us what… it has been so many years that we have used these.) Some of these guidelines are our own. Some of them come from other sources that had no authors attached to them. (For this reason, we can’t give them proper credit.) We pray they will be of help to you as you work to resolve conflicts within your marriage. Please feel free to copy and adapt them in any way that works for you.
There is also a more detailed version of this document in the Communication Tools topic of this web site. It has scriptures that are added that you can use to review with your spouse.
– ALSO –
Here are two linked articles, which have points posted that could also help you in this area of communication. The first article gives you additional help in composing your own resolving conflict guidelines. Bill and Pam Farrel wrote that one. Lastly, Michael and Amy Smalley give you a peek into the resolving conflict guidelines that they personally use in their marriage. To see what they have, please read:
Cindy and Steve Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this article.
More from Marriage Missions
Filed under: Communication Tools
3 responses to “Resolving Conflict Guidelines (Condensed Version)”
(USA) This is very helpful advice. Thank you for this website. We are using these resources in a marriage group.
What if there are other signs but does not commit to what is written? Then what?
This is something that both spouses have to commit to, for it to work. If one spouse decides to do his or her own thing, then it’s difficult to resolve conflict without added tension. All you can do is to try to convince the other spouse to partner in resolving conflict AS a partner, rather than as a single person. Marriage is about marrying your ways together –compromising and working together to find win/win solutions. It works best when both partners are willing to work together, rather than pull apart in resolving areas of conflict.