I'll be sharing some thoughts this week from our preparation.
Our relational discussions really don't have to end up in a blow-out fight if we have some guidelines and boundaries in place. Then we can be in control of the argument, rather than the argument controlling us.
Here is a hand-out we are working on.
Believe your mate has your best interest at heart
Listen. Ask yourself, "Is there any truth to this?"
See the discussion as an opportunity for understanding rather than for winning.
Remove sarcasm, cynicism, and anger from your words and tone.
Stay on topic.
See the issue as "our" issue, not "his" or "her" issue
Keep the discussion only between you and your mate
Take responsibility for yourself and your actions
Recognize your limits. If things are heating up, agree to a time-out.
Finish the discussion. Don't leave it open-ended.
See your mate as the adversary
Belittle, insult, call names or use abusive language
Label or compare ("You are so ________" or You are just like your _________")
Try to have the last word
Shut down and use the silent treatment
Put up defenses and retaliate verbally
Tear down the other's character and personality. Keep it about behavior.
Use the D word (divorce)
Threaten, yell, scream, slam doors or throw, hit or break things
Walk away or leave the house (except for an agreed upon time-out)
Bring up the past or former unresolved discussions
Blame or make accusations
Generalize - "You always", "You never", "Can't you just...?", "You are so..."
Make assumptions about what you think your mate is saying. Ask direct questions.
What do you think? Any additions or suggestions?
Can these guidelines help to control the argument rather than it controlling us?