4 Easy Steps to Clarify Conflict

Today I want to share a simple 4 step plan that I refer to for perspective after I’ve just had a conflict with my husband or someone else. Although it has come in handy with others that I’ve been in conflict with, it gets used most often with my hubby, since he’s, unfortunately, my prime conflict partner!

These four steps bring greater clarity to my heart and mind because conflict seems to cause confusion and usually triggers emotions that I allow to plunge me into denial and deception.

If you feel like these steps would be helpful to you, then get out that trusty index card or note-taking app on your smart phone and record them there to carry with you wherever you go!

Step One –
Realize and remind myself:
(Spouse’s name) is not my enemy and only hurt.”

Step Two –
Pray for God to give me perspective on this conflict and reveal the hurtful purposes of my heart.

Step Three
Ask myself and God:

  • What have I done to hurt (Spouse’s name) or respond wrong?
  • What do I need to do to change and improve?

Step Four
Apologize for my part and leave the conviction of my spouse’s sin up to God!

Now, it’s your turn!

What do you do to clear the clutter during times of conflict?

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  • Beth – I love step 4. Maybe one of the biggest relationship lessons we can learn is that I am NOT the Holy Spirit. It’s up to Him to convict, to correct, to change hearts. Beginning with my own …

    • Yes, it’s probably the hardest to remember and apply as well, Linda. I know this but often forget it in the heat of the moment. That’s why I need reminders like this at my fingertips! Thanks so much for your encouragement, friend, and always for linking up too! Hugs to you!

  • Beth – I love step 4. Maybe one of the biggest relationship lessons we can learn is that I am NOT the Holy Spirit. It’s up to Him to convict, to correct, to change hearts. Beginning with my own …

  • Gaye @ CalmHealthySexy

    Beth – Thanks for the opportunity to link up with you. Gaye

    • Thanks to you, Gaye, for linking up and for being one of my strongest Twitter supporters. I need to get in the habit of tweeting about your stuff too. I apologize that I’m not a savvy or very active Twitterer, but I’m going to try and get better. You have such a great blog, I want others to know about it, my friend!

      • Gaye @ CalmHealthySexy

        Thank you, Beth. The things you write are very insightful, and I love sharing them. I am very confused by social media (lol!) and have decided to focus on learning Twitter first, as it seems most user friendly and time efficient to me.

        • I just tried to Tweet about your post and I didn’t include your Twitter name because it wouldn’t recognize it for some reason. Ugh! This technology stuff is “for the birds!” haha!

  • Gaye @ CalmHealthySexy

    Beth – Thanks for the opportunity to link up with you. Gaye

  • Falen

    No. 4 is sooo hard but really sooooo worth it. I just found this link up. I will def have to keep it in mind!! I’m a new follower and following you on Twitter too. Nice to meet you! Saw your link on We Are That Family.

    • I’m so glad you found me, Falen! I’ll have to check out your place too. I’m glad you linked up, commented and introduced yourself. I love having a new bloggy friend! 🙂

  • No. 4 is sooo hard but really sooooo worth it. I just found this link up. I will def have to keep it in mind!! I’m a new follower and following you on Twitter too. Nice to meet you! Saw your link on We Are That Family.

  • Megan@DoNotDisturb

    Great steps. Easy to share these with others and worth learning and applying myself. Thanks!

    Megan

    • Yeah, I like simple and practical, otherwise I don’t end up using it. Thanks so much for encouraging me, Megan, and always for linking up! I love pointing the way to your great blog, my friend!

  • Megan@DoNotDisturb

    Great steps. Easy to share these with others and worth learning and applying myself. Thanks!

    Megan

  • The book that I found the most helpful in learning how to biblically resolve conflict was Ken Sande’s The Peacemaker. I just love how he practically applies Scripture…so much on what a true apology looks like, what forgiveness is and is not, etc. If anyone hasn’t read it, you should put it on your list!!

    • I’ve read bits and pieces of it, Elizabeth. My husband really liked it. I’ll have to put in on my list of to-read. Unfortunately, I have way too many books on that list. It’s something I need to be better at making time for. Thanks for the recommendation and for linking up again. I love being able to point others to your great blog, my friend!

  • The book that I found the most helpful in learning how to biblically resolve conflict was Ken Sande’s The Peacemaker. I just love how he practically applies Scripture…so much on what a true apology looks like, what forgiveness is and is not, etc. If anyone hasn’t read it, you should put it on your list!!

  • I think my 5th step entails moving forward, even if this conflict isn’t clearly resolved, and build every other aspect of the marriage relationship. Allow time for the area of conflict to close or heal or prayerfully wind to it’s resting place, all the while resolving to carry on with the rest of our life.

    I’m just beginning to use the Notebook app on my phone … I had no idea THIS is what it’s for, Beth! 😉

    • Yes, I didn’t incorporate that because I felt it was implied in step 3, but it certainly is one that I do–apply what God reveals to me. That can be rather humbling, but these days I’m learning to appreciate what it feels like to be humbled by God’s truth. He is such a gentle exhorter, though. 🙂 Thanks so much for weighing in, Amy, and for linking up! I appreciate seeing you in the line-up each week, my friend!

    • I forgot to add, I LOVE my note app. I use it to store all sorts of reminders and lists. It certainly gets rid of the clutter of “sticky notes” and index cards that I used to have sprinkled all over my nightstand! haha! I hope you find it just as helpful!

      • I am beginning to find it very helpful for lists I make — gifts, plans, menus and blog posts!

        By the way, while step #3 does imply the “moving forward” aspect of conflict, I err on the side of explaining everything in aggravating, minute detail. 😀 I have a friend who struggles with a mental illness and marriage issues … and has a brilliant mind, but needs the details spelled out so she can connect the dots and not miss the whole picture. I’m learning to see her way because she does not get the clues that the rest of us do sometimes.

        You and I differ in our words. I use hundreds (my husband would say “millions”), you use dozens — and both methods work. I’m learning to pare mine a bit … hard to do for me!

        • My husband agrees with your thought that I should have added another step and not leave it up in the air. I certainly wouldn’t want people to think this is ALL you need to do to work through a conflict. 🙂 Marriage is tough and must be “fought for” sometimes. Thanks for adding to the discussion and throwing out ideas on how to improve, Amy. 🙂

  • I think my 5th step entails moving forward, even if this conflict isn’t clearly resolved, and build every other aspect of the marriage relationship. Allow time for the area of conflict to close or heal or prayerfully wind to it’s resting place, all the while resolving to carry on with the rest of our life.

    I’m just beginning to use the Notebook app on my phone … I had no idea THIS is what it’s for, Beth! 😉

  • Yes, it’s probably the hardest to remember and apply as well, Linda. I know this but often forget it in the heat of the moment. That’s why I need reminders like this at my fingertips! Thanks so much for your encouragement, friend, and always for linking up too! Hugs to you!

  • Thanks to you, Gaye, for linking up and for being one of my strongest Twitter supporters. I need to get in the habit of tweeting about your stuff too. I apologize that I’m not a savvy or very active Twitterer, but I’m going to try and get better. You have such a great blog, I want others to know about it, my friend!

  • I’m so glad you found me, Falen! I’ll have to check out your place too. I’m glad you linked up, commented and introduced yourself. I love having a new bloggy friend! 🙂

  • Yeah, I like simple and practical, otherwise I don’t end up using it. Thanks so much for encouraging me, Megan, and always for linking up! I love pointing the way to your great blog, my friend!

  • I’ve read bits and pieces of it, Elizabeth. My husband really liked it. I’ll have to put in on my list of to-read. Unfortunately, I have way too many books on that list. It’s something I need to be better at making time for. Thanks for the recommendation and for linking up again. I love being able to point others to your great blog, my friend!

  • Yes, I didn’t incorporate that because I felt it was implied in step 3, but it certainly is one that I do–apply what God reveals to me. That can be rather humbling, but these days I’m learning to appreciate what it feels like to be humbled by God’s truth. He is such a gentle exhortater, though. 🙂 Thanks so much for weighing in, Amy, and for linking up! I appreciate seeing you in the line-up each week, my friend!

  • I forgot to add, I LOVE my note app. I use it to store all sorts of reminders and lists. It certainly gets rid of the clutter of “sticky notes” and index cards that I used to have sprinkled all over my nightstand! haha! I hope you find it just as helpful!

  • These are great steps Beth. In conflict, I am not always feeling like submitting myself to the process, I’d rather have my way, on the spot 🙂 But I find that He is a process God, He shines a light on the motives and intentions of my heart. Regardless of who is “at fault”, there’s always something to change within me. I think that has been one of my greatest revelations. Love the other areas you’ve highlighted as well.

    • Yes, I don’t feel like submitting myself to the process either so this kind of holds me accountable to get it started. And once the Holy Spirit gets a hold of my heart … well, my best resistances are crushed. 🙂 And for that I am so thankful! And yes, I agree that there’s always something to change within me too. I never want to forget that! Thanks, Ngina, for coming over and participating in WW. You brighten my day, my friend!

  • These are great steps Beth. In conflict, I am not always feeling like submitting myself to the process, I’d rather have my way, on the spot 🙂 But I find that He is a process God, He shines a light on the motives and intentions of my heart. Regardless of who is “at fault”, there’s always something to change within me. I think that has been one of my greatest revelations. Love the other areas you’ve highlighted as well.

  • I am beginning to find it very helpful for lists I make — gifts, plans, menus and blog posts!

    By the way, while step #3 does imply the “moving forward” aspect of conflict, I err on the side of explaining everything in aggravating, minute detail. 😀 I have a friend who struggles with a mental illness and marriage issues … and has a brilliant mind, but needs the details spelled out so she can connect the dots and not miss the whole picture. I’m learning to see her way because she does not get the clues that the rest of us do sometimes.

    You and I differ in our words. I use hundreds (my husband would say “millions”), you use dozens — and both methods work. I’m learning to pare mine a bit … hard to do for me!

  • Kathryn

    This is such a great idea and I love getting to put it in my phone because I carry that with me everywhere. Great reminders!

    • Yes, I’m becoming more and more dependent upon my phone–in a good way. It’s becoming the brain that I need these days as my brain is aging very fast! haha! Thanks for your kind words and for linking up! I appreciate you and your blog, Kathryn!

  • Kathryn

    This is such a great idea and I love getting to put it in my phone because I carry that with me everywhere. Great reminders!

  • Gaye @ CalmHealthySexy

    Thank you, Beth. The things you write are very insightful, and I love sharing them. I am very confused by social media (lol!) and have decided to focus on learning Twitter first, as it seems most user friendly and time efficient to me.

  • I just tried to Tweet about your post and I didn’t include your Twitter name because it wouldn’t recognize it for some reason. Ugh! This technology stuff is “for the birds!” haha!

  • Yes, I don’t feel like submitting myself to the process either so this kind of holds me accountable to get it started. And once the Holy Spirit gets a hold of my heart … well, my best resistances are crushed. 🙂 And for that I am so thankful! And yes, I agree that there’s always something to change within me too. I never want to forget that! Thanks, Ngina, for coming over and participating in WW. You brighten my day, my friend!

  • Yes, I’m becoming more and more dependent upon my phone–in a good way. It’s becoming the brain that I need these days as my brain is aging very fast! haha! Thanks for your kind words and for linking up! I appreciate you and your blog, Kathryn!

  • I remind myself that I love my husband and he loves me even if we’re at a point of contention at the moment. Adam really needs physical affirmation of this and so I try to reach over and squeeze his hand, lay a hand on his back, or give him a hug (if I can). Adam has learned that I tend to need the exact opposite. I need some space to cool down for a moment, even if I don’t need to leave the room, so he let’s me have my moment to breathe deep, and then reaches for my hand.

    • Yes, those simple reminders when our anger has hijacked our brains can bring us back to reality, Hannah. I’m glad you also brought out that the way you reach out to each other during a conflict is different. My husband and I are different too and it really helps to keep that in mind when trying to defuse things. Thanks so much for coming by and adding to the discussion, my friend!

  • I remind myself that I love my husband and he loves me even if we’re at a point of contention at the moment. Adam really needs physical affirmation of this and so I try to reach over and squeeze his hand, lay a hand on his back, or give him a hug (if I can). Adam has learned that I tend to need the exact opposite. I need some space to cool down for a moment, even if I don’t need to leave the room, so he let’s me have my moment to breathe deep, and then reaches for my hand.

  • Oh, this is so good! I especially need to remember to leave my husband’s sin, when he is at fault, to him and to GOD to deal with. It’s not my job to make my husband repentant or sorry or to punish him. What I need to deal with is MY sin, and then give my husband to God. Thanks for this, and for hosting the linkup! I’ll be back! 🙂

    • Yes, it’s a hard lesson to learn sometimes, that’s why I need all the reminders I can get, Jaimie! haha!

      You’re welcome and I hope you come back next week too, new friend!

  • Oh, this is so good! I especially need to remember to leave my husband’s sin, when he is at fault, to him and to GOD to deal with. It’s not my job to make my husband repentant or sorry or to punish him. What I need to deal with is MY sin, and then give my husband to God. Thanks for this, and for hosting the linkup! I’ll be back! 🙂

  • Yes, those simple reminders when our anger has hijacked our brains can bring us back to reality, Hannah. I’m glad you also brought out that the way you reach out to each other during a conflict is different. My husband and I are different too and it really helps to keep that in mind when trying to defuse things. Thanks so much for coming by and adding to the discussion, my friend!

  • Yes, it’s a hard lesson to learn sometimes, that’s why I need all the reminders I can get, Jaimie! haha!

    You’re welcome and I hope you come back next week too, new friend!

  • My husband agrees with your thought that I should have added another step and not leave it up in the air. I certainly wouldn’t want people to think this is ALL you need to do to work through a conflict. 🙂 Marriage is tough and must be “fought for” sometimes. Thanks for adding to the discussion and throwing out ideas on how to improve, Amy. 🙂