Once a year, my husband and I teach “Preparing for Marriage, by Denise Rainy at our church. The newly engaged couples enter the class room absorbed in the details of matrimony. Up until our class, all of their preparations are filled with romance…picking out the dress, the invitations, the flowers, the cake, and THE HONEYMOON!
Our class is designed not to just prepare them for their wedding day, but for their entire marriage. It helps them ask, is this the person God has chosen for me to marry? Why did God create marriage? What are my roles and responsibly to my spouse? It’s tough stuff. But…it prepares them like nothing else.
One of the lessons is on dealing with conflict. It teaches the couple how to “fight fare.” My husband has his own advice for resolving conflict. “Couples should fight naked!” He believes if the wife would agree to this, the fight would be over. His theory has not been tested in our home.
Here are some steps you can follow in your home:
1.) Use “I” words instead of “you” words. For example: it’s best to say… “I feel embarrassed when we are late for church.” Instead of… “You make us look bad when we’re late for church.”
2.) Before bringing up a situation for discussion, write it down on paper first.
3.) Next, without blaming one another, list how each of you have contributed to the problem and then list some things each of you can do to resolve the problem.
4.) List past attempts to resolve the problem that didn’t work. (Don’t blame)
5.) Take turns speaking and listening. The listening spouse should repeat back word for word what they’ve heard the other communicate. Then ask, “Is this correct?” It’s a sure way to get your thoughts and concerns heard.
6.) Discuss and evaluate your list of solutions. Be as objective as you can. Talk about how useful these things can be to your marriage and situation.
7.) Agree how each of you will toward your selected solution. Be as specific as possible. You can’t read each other’s minds.
8.) Set regular dates to discuss your progress. If you’ve gotten off track, go over the solution agreed to and start again without judgment of one another.
9.) Pay attention to your spouse throughout the week. Praise him/her when you see positive effort.
My husband and I have been fortune to teach this class. Year after year, these tools have taken root in our hearts and minds as we’ve put them into practice. We can testify to their success. We wish you and your spouse triumph as well as you work toward resolving conflict in your marriage.