I can think of a number of occasions when I was in a disagreement with my wife, my kids, or a friend. No doubt you can too. Recall the discomfort you felt, the tension in your body, the lack of certainty of what to do next.
It is very difficult to feel any differently when conflict happens because of the fight, flight, or freeze button activated in our brains. There is however, one thing we can do to lessen those reactions and make resolving conflict easy(er). Continue Reading →
Recently Zerrin and I spent some very rich time with some good friends. As we conversed, the husband began to share he felt as though his life no longer had purpose. We talked about challenges they faced, the season of life they were in, and questions about God. I wanted to encourage my brother, but experienced a growing frustration inside of me because nothing I said seemed to have any impact.
Then something happened that came out of no where. Torrents of emotions were stirred in me and I began to weep! Through my tears I managed to tell him how much of a difference he has made in my life and how much I need him and how difficult it would be to go on in life if I knew that he wasn’t still running the race as I am.
Then, in the midst of my tears, I found myself wondering what my friends and my wife were thinking about me as I was crying. Was it OK? Or did they see me as weak? Continue Reading →
I’m not sure when it really hit me, but there it was: we were having the same conflict again that we did the week before. And the week before that, and even the one before that! What was going on? Why did we keep fighting over the same thing?
Being a counselor who is trained to analyze complex situations, I had to figure this one out. What I eventually discovered was transformational to my marriage. Continue Reading →
Recently when talking to my brother, we both shared separate stories of a childhood memory where words were said to us in a very demeaning manner. I was in 8th grade when a teacher ridiculed me in front of the whole class because I didn’t know the definition of a word. I remember feeling utterly ashamed. I wanted to disappear. Why did he do that? Why wasn’t he considerate of the effect that might have had on me? Why aren’t we all much more attentive to what we say and how we say it? What should we keep in mind the most when communicating so that we can positively affect and love others well?
There is a proverb that says: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Think about that. The very words you and I use each and every day are words that can injure, wound, shame, destroy, and bring death. OR they can bring forth LIFE! Our words can encourage, help, comfort, build up, strengthen, give direction, and heal! Continue Reading →
I know of couples who straight out go for the jugular when they fight with each other. Emotions escalate and so do they. Then there are those who are split: one wants to get to the bottom of things NOW and the other does everything they can to run the other direction. And finally, there are those couples in which neither party really wants to engage, so they both tend to put off dealing with conflict. Zerrin and I tend to fall more in this last camp. Here are some action steps to take regardless of how you deal with conflict:
Step #1: Consider Your Conflict Style
Why do you tend to deal with conflict the way you do? What good (or bad) examples have you learned from? These are very important questions to ask. They can lead to much personal insight. The more you clarify why, the more power you will have to change. Continue Reading →
In times of war there is something known as Rules Of Engagement (ROE). According to GlobalSecurity.org, they are “directives issued by competent military authority which delineate the circumstances and limitations under which United States forces will initiate and/or continue combat engagement with other forces encountered.”
Recently I thought married couples should be practicing rules of engagement when it comes to interpersonal conflict!
Here are 8 Rules of Engagement to ensure you’re always fighting fair: Continue Reading →
Last week I attended a conference put on by a good friend, Todd Braschler. It was entitled: A Visionary Leader. One take-away for me was the challenge to become better at helping people SEE the benefits of marriage. This Thanksgiving, take a moment and visualize the following: Continue Reading →
On the first page of the prologue in her book, The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce, Judith S. Wallerstein writes: “The major contribution of this book has been to recognize, for the first time, that when children of divorce become adults, they are badly frightened that their relationships will fail, just like the most important relationship in their parents’ lives failed.” What does it take to overcome the effects of divorce on children? Continue Reading →