Sixteen "Nevers" of Conflict
#1 - Never Speak Rashly
“He who blesses his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it will be counted a curse to him.” (Proverbs 27:14) If you are feeling emotionally upset about a circumstance or situation, weigh your words before you speak and give yourself some time to cool down. Many times in a relationship, a person reacts to how a person speaks rather than what is said. Remember, “A harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)
#2 - Never Confront Your Mate (or Anyone) Publicly
Jesus taught, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.” (Matthew 18:15) When I hear two people argue in a public place, I feel sorry for both persons. They do not realize how much embarrassment they are bring on themselves. If you have an issue with your mate, bring it up in private.
#3 - Never Confront Your Mate In Front Of Your Children
“Better is a dry morsel with quietness, than a house full of feasting with strife.” (Proverbs 17:1) As a parent you have the job of modeling good communication before your children. Your children in no way benefit from watching heated arguments and listening to critical and combative statements. Don’t make your children long to be out of the home. Your daughter may be longing for some man to free her from your home – too often, the wrong man!
#4: Never Use Your Children In Conflict
Have you ever asked your child to side with you in an argument, help them in your defense or to even lie for you? If you have, you are putting your child in an extremely awkward position. A child needs the assurance that both parents love each other and can work out differences on their own.
#5: Never say “Never” or “Always”
These are words that polarize, accuse and define another person. These words take an issue to the extreme. It is more productive to stay neutral in your emotions and say things like, “I don’t appreciate it when….”, or “I feel bad when you….” (then stating the specific behavior).
#6: Never Resort to Name-Calling
This is a sure-fire way to turn up both the heat and the hurt in an argument. Name-calling is always negative in tone, citing a weakness or a flaw in the other person and exaggerating it.
#7: Never Get Historical
Remember forgiveness! By dredging up the past, recalling past sins and then applying them to recent behavior you are only sending the signal that you are unforgiving. I am amazed in counseling sessions when a person says, “Don’t you remember five years ago when you…?” The person making this statement is bitter and angry at a very deep level. This bitterness and anger are far more important to address than misbehavior, error or sin committed five years ago. “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.” - Ephesians 4:32
#8: Never Stomp Out of the Room or Leave
This is a form of domination, a form of gaining victory that will produce nothing more but unresolved and heightened anger. “Be angry and do not sin, do not let the sun go down on your wrath.” – Ephesians 4:26 Do not leave an argument unresolved and stomp out of a room. Remember that resolution takes effort!
#9: Never Raise Your Voice in Anger
Proverbs 16:21 says, “Sweetness of the lips increases learning,” and Proverbs 16:24 adds, “Pleasant words are like honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.” A pleasant tone is much more persuasive and brings about a much better attitude in the person who is listening.
#10: Never Bring Family Members into the Discussion Unless They Are a Direct Part of the Problem Being Addressed
Statements like “Your mother does this and it drives me nuts!”, or “You are just like your father!”, will never ever resolve a conflict. These statements are immature and tend to prolong any argument. These statements result in a spouse becoming defensive about his or her parents and is a sure fire way to hurt someone’s feelings.
#11: Never Win Through Reasoning or Logic and Never Out-Argue
Nothing is more disrespectful than to disregard the feelings of your mate with cold logic as if to say your mate’s pain and feelings are foolish and imagined. Throughout the New Testament we find verses that say we are to submit to other believers. Is loosing an argument taking a doormat position? No, it is Godly. We are to submit our personal rights to a great position of seeking unity and harmony within the body of Christ. For healthy resolution to occur, there are no winners or losers but the advancement of the relationship to a new level of understanding and agreement, with compromise by both persons.
This is not to say that we are to compromise with evil. Seek every means possible of convincing your spouse that what they are about to do is unrighteous before God and dangerous to the integrity of your marriage and family. Pray diligently that the Lord will drop the scales of deceit from your spouse’s eyes and that they will repent of their ungodly behavior.
#12: Never Be Condescending
Adopting a “know it all” or “better than thou” attitude never brings about healthy resolution. Condescending words only embarrass, bring about anger, weaken another in his/her own eyes and in the eyes of others, and tear another down. Whether you are a husband or a wife, your role in marriage and as a fellow Christian is to build up, to edify, to strengthen, and to genuinely praise the goodness of God in your spouse.
#13: Never Demean
Although your tone may not be condescending, the actual content of what you are communicating may be demeaning. One man sat in my office and said very matter-of-factly, “My wife isn’t well educated and doesn’t know about these things.” If telling the truth to a person about their attributes clashes with expressing love to a person, err on side of expressing love. Along side the actual content , your tone of voice can also be demeaning. Remember that content and tone can cause the one you love to feel embarrassed or humiliated. There are other ways of communication that are more effective, learn these.
#14: Never Accuse Your Spouse with “You” Statements
Pointing fingers and saying such things like “You did this,” “You said that,” “You caused this,” or “You are a rotten person”, do not lead to Godly resolution. Put your statements in “I” terms like, “I heard you say this, is that correct?” or “I don’t understand what you mean when you say this, or “I feel this way when this happened.” You are not the judge and the jury. Remember, you are on the same team!
#15: Never Allow an Argument to Begin If Both of You Are Overly Tired, If One of You is Under the Influence of Chemicals, or If One of You is Physically Ill
Abigail refrained from telling her husband, Nabal, about the error of his ways until he was sober enough to listen. “But in the morning, when the wine had gone out of Nabal, his wife told him these things...” (1 Samuel 25:37) One noted speaker on marriage has given this advice: never start an argument after ten o’clock at night.
#16: Never Touch Your Spouse in a Harmful Manner
Rough physical treatment is never justifiable. Never grab, slap, shake, push or use a strong arm or hand!!!! This is as clear as it sounds.
NOTE: In Tommy Nelson's Song of Solomon video, he had some different "nevers," including:
- Never use sex to win
- Never freeze mate out and not talk so everyone in the house is "walking on eggshells"
- Never fail to listen to your mate
- Never harden yourself. Make sure you never do it again!
© Todd Tyszka
Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, you do not make more than 500 physical copies, and you include the following statement on any distributed copy:
From Todd Tyszka. © Todd Tyszka. Website: www.toddtyszka.com. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For web posting, a link to this document on our website is required. Any exceptions to the above must be formally approved by Todd Tyszka.