Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How to Fight Fair

Hello all!
It has been a busy week here at Irby Road. On Monday the kids started their first day of vrtic (preschool). We have been waiting for space at this school for 6 months so it was really exciting to finally send them. It sounds like a great place. They have a singing circle, different crafts every day, puppet shows, acting, play instruments, cook, and have a great deal of outdoor play. Here's a picture of them at their first day. Aren't they cute?

Last night we spoke at our Svaki student cafe. The theme was Valentine's day so Josh and I decided to talk about conflict and how to "fight fair". We started with a fake fight about forgetting the notes. It was hard not to laugh (I'm not the best actress) but I think it got the point across on how NOT to argue! We talked about laying ground rules before there is a conflict so that when you are fighting you can remember the boundaries you have set. Here are the ground rules:

Generalize: Stay away from using terms such as "always" and "never" (you ALWAYS do that, you NEVER do that!)
Speak non- truth: hurtful words you don't truly mean and you will regret later
Threaten: with physical harm or with leaving forever. Josh and I have a promise that we will never mention the "D" word or even entertain the possibility of leaving each other for good.
Leave: There is a healthy leaving referred to as "Time Out" but it needs to be used properly. Instead of huffing off mad and running to a place where the conflict can be avoided and maybe even forgotten, Time Out has to be verbalized. "Can we talk about this in an hour? I'm really mad right now and I don't want to say anything I will regret. I need some time to clear my head and think." My coping mechanism in conflict is to run away angry. This never helps and should be avoided. Josh knows it's my weak spot so when he sees me start to turn, he lovingly takes my shoulder and draws me back in.

Stay Calm: Avoid raising your voice. This is where Time Out can come in handy!
Use "I" instead of "you": State how you feel without accusing the other person
Apologize: This is a big one. From the beginning of marriage, we have tried our best in conflict to search the conflict to see where we could possibly be wrong. Even if you feel totally innocent and that the other is COMPLETELY at fault, find some place where you said the wrong thing, responded wrong, etc.
Forgive: Again, another biggie for us. Not just for us, but for the whole family. When someone says "I'm sorry" (according to a sin committed against the other, not in a total accident), we never respond with "It's okay." This implies that the offense was not heavy or was just "nothing". When you respond with "I forgive you" it does something within both people. For the one apologizing it makes them feel the weight of what they did, and the sacrifice the other person took to forgive them. For the one giving forgiveness it makes them search the soul and truly offer forgiveness. Such power in words!

We closed with 1 Corinthians 13, the ever familiar love chapter of the Bible:
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

I hope this helps a bit in all your relationships, be it romantic, friendships, children/parent, work....

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY! (and happy birthday to my Mamma, Sylvia Sharron!)


  1. I like the fake fight idea. I think I'm going to steal it for when I teach on conflict in the universities. :)

  2. Thanks Stephanie! It was really fun. I think they would have believed us if Josh wouldn't have laughed haha!

  3. Yes! I completely agree, and this is a wonderful reminder.

    So nice to "meet" you today!
    Melanie :)