What Are We Really Fighting About? Pt. 1

couple-fighting-on-couch

Dirty Clothes

Matthew 7:12; Romans 12:9-10

Person 1- You have asked several times that the clothes be put into the hamper.  You enter the bedroom/bathroom and notice the clothes are once again on the floor. You are tired of picking them up and saying nothing, but you fear that if you continue to pick them up it will continue to happen. You want to talk about it but you don’t want to be considered a nag. What do you do?

Person 2- You have been asked repeatedly to put your clothes in the hamper.  You are not thinking about how many times you have not done it, but you know you have not done it. Most times they are picked up and put into the hamper so it seem like no big deal.  Your spouse is talking to you about the clothes being on the floor again, how do you respond?

What are some potential problems?

  1. What the person who picks up the clothes says.
  2. How they say it.

Option 1 

Person 1

You could accuse and impugn the other persons’ motives.

I asked you to put the clothes in the hamper and you keep throwing them on the floor on purpose.  You don’t care a thing about how I feel or what I ask.  You just keep on doing this and you know I don’t want you to.

Person 2 might Retaliate – Accuse the first person of wrong doing also and make them equally at fault.

I am not the only one who does things here. You do things I ask you not to do also.  I have asked you to do things and you never do them, and I know you are doing them on purpose.  You think you are the only one that has to put up with stuff around here.  All you do is nag me about small insignificant stuff.  You are not perfect yourself.

What are some potential solutions?

Person 1

Acknowledge the good the person has done.  For example, “I know I have talked to you before about putting your clothes in the hamper and I appreciate the fact that you began to do it.  It is just that frequently it is not happening again.  I really need your help in this matter; it would help me and mean a lot to me if you would put your clothes in the hamper.  When you put them in the hamper I know you are thinking about me and that makes me feel great.”

Person 2 might say, “I am glad you noticed that I did try and was successful for a while, but you are right I have slipped back into my old habit.  I did not realize how much it meant to you, and I do think about you, and your feelings are important to me. I will commit myself to consciously putting my clothes in the hamper, because I do think about you, and I want you to feel great.”

Considerations:

  1. Our actions are often not about the thing being done as much as they are about the thoughts or lack of thought behind them.
  1. Are clothes on the floor really a big deal or are they symptomatic of something much larger?
  1. Clothes in or out of the hamper are about:
    1. Thoughtfulness – You have expressed a concern. Do I think about your feelings?
    2. Consideration – Are your feelings important to me, do I consider your feelings when I act?
    3. Fairness – Do I want you to do the things I ask of you, if so, am I willing to do the things you ask of me?

-Eric

 

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