This past Sunday in church, Pastor Clay Porr's message was on How to Have a Good Fight. 10 Rules of Engagement.
This is important stuff. Pastor Clay said almost every fight a couple engages in has to do with: money, children or the having of children. Sound familiar? The important thing is not whether you fight or not because it is inevitable. Disagreements are going to happen especially now that your lives have been turned upside down!
So, I trust this will help and remember both parties need to follow the rules in order for it to work. All is NOT fair in love and war!
!0 Rules of Engagement
1. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
You don’t have to fight every battle. In fact, if you want to have harmony in your family, you need to overlook minor offenses whenever possible.
2. Don’t sweep it under the rug.
On the other hand, if you can’t overlook the problem, you have to deal with it. Don’t just sweep it under the rug. Otherwise, the pile will build up and become much more difficult to handle.
3. Look in the mirror.
Before you begin arguing, ask yourself, “How have I contributed to this problem?” In the hundreds of times I’ve helped people with relationship issues, never once have I seen a situation in which only one person was at fault.
4. Hold hands.
Even if you don’t physically hold hands, remember that you’re part of the same family. The person you’re arguing with is someone you love. Act like it!
5. Identify the issue.
If you can both agree how to describe the issue you’re dealing with, half of the battle is over. Agreeing on the problem doesn’t solve it, but you can’t solve it if you don’t agree what it is.
6. Seek to understand.
Seek first to understand, then to be understood. A great way to do this is to restate what the other person said and ask if your understanding is accurate. We’re so quick to want to make our own points. But, if we’re willing to make the effort to make sure the other person knows we’ve understood them, the problem will get solved much more quickly.
7. Keep it current.
If you keep bringing up the past, you’ll never be able to move forward in your relationships. We can’t change the past, and we can’t expect our loved ones to change it either.
8. Avoid absolutes.
Never say “never” again! Don’t say “you always.” Don’t exaggerate what the other person has said or done; and don’t minimize your own shortcomings.
9. Apologize sincerely.
Do you want to know the quickest way to end a fight? Surrender! Apologize sincerely.
Don’t just say “I’m sorry if you were offended.” Or, “I’m sorry, but I wouldn’t have done that if you hadn’t done this.” Don’t minimize your offense. Don’t shift the blame. Be specific. Own your junk.
10. Forgive fully.
Forgive and don’t bring it up again.
Forgiveness means accepting the consequences for the other person’s actions. If you lend me $1000 and I don’t pay it back and you forgive that debt, you’re out $1000. You’re bearing the consequences of my failure to pay that debt. It costs you something. The same is true when we forgive one another when we hurt each other.
We talk about forgiving and forgetting. The problem is that we usually can’t forget, and so we’re tempted to bring up the offense again. But true forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting, it means not bringing up the offense again even when we can’t forget it. That’s pretty difficult to do. But necessary.