by Dr. Bill Austin
In the previous articles we have listed the ineffective behaviors to avoid when handling a conflict. Now let us focus on the method of engagement. As you design your Covenant, the following are some suggestions you might consider when formulating a method for handling conflict.
II. WE WILL HANDLE OUR CONFLICT IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS:
1. Timing: We will take the time necessary to resolve differences. If the timing isn't good, we will make an appointment.
2. Timeouts: When we feel it is no longer safe to keep talking or when we keep saying the same thing over and over again, a 'timeout' will be called. This means there will be no more discussion. We will go to separate places in the house in order to 'cool off.' Our 'timeout' period will be for __(number of minutes) minutes. After the agreed time, we will sit down together and take turns speaking and listening to each other.
3. Agreeing on the problem: We must agree to the problem before moving on to the solution.
Next month we will continue with the final article on the Conflict Covenant. There will be more suggestions as to how you may handle conflicts. (October 2001)
Dr. William E. Austin is a licensed psychotherapist and holds a Doctor of Divinity degree. He is a therapist with Tidewater Pastoral Counseling Services . He is well known for his warmth and sense of humor. His book, Creating Our Safe Place - Articles on Healthy Relationships, can be purchased through www.amazon.com.
Tidewater Pastoral Counseling: 623-2700