Posts Tagged ‘conflict’


Saturday, September 20th, 2014

Our 8-year-old granddaughter has reached the age where board games and other type of two player games are just her cup of tea.

One of the favorite games she likes to play is ‘hangman’. Her favorite person she likes to play it with is Grandpa. I find it interesting that two people who don’t know how to spell enjoy playing this game together. So I listened for a while and learned something. Turns out being a good speller isn’t really a requirement of ‘hangman’. You just need to agree on the rules.  For them, words can be spelled phonetically (or fun-ed-dick-lee) if you prefer. As long as the two of you can ultimately fill in the blanks, everything is good.

I guess it’s a lot like driving down the road.

If you live in the United States, don’t drive on the same side of the road as you would in England.  As long as you and the rest of the drivers agree on the rules of the road, you have a fair chance of getting to your destination.

If you stop to think about it, your success in any endeavor you undertake with one or more people, is almost always assured if you can just agree on the rules. Some of the most unlikely couples, make a success of their marriages. Why? Because the two of them agreed on the important things of life; their finances, their living situations, their plans for the future and their plans for their careers and family. Why do some families have so little conflict while others struggle to make it through a day without an argument? Because the rules are agreed on and obeyed by all. Conflict comes when rules get broken.  And when you talk about the people you love, emotional hurt from the broken rules is so much more painful than it would be in the general public.

Are you and your spouse going through some difficult times? Maybe this would be a good time to sit down and establish some guidelines to live by.  Are the kids totally out of control? Might be good to sit them down and explain that there are rules of conduct that they are expected to observe.

All relationships are complicated.  Set up some rules. Peace will reign a lot more often if you can make and observe them.

Angry Husband

Friday, July 15th, 2011

Q: My wife can’t stop complaining no matter what I do. She yells because the garage is a mess. So I move stuff into the living room so I can organize the garage. Now she’s yelling because there’s stuff in the living room and I’m watching tv. Big deal! I work fulltime. I’m tired. I’ll do it later. She comes in here yelling at me so I told her to ___ off. Now she’s probably off running up the credit cards. I think I’m just going to sit here and get drunk. Serves her right.

A: Apparently, you feel that getting drunk will annoy your wife as much as her running up the credit cards annoys you. It seems to me that – if the two of you continue on this path – you’ll be in bankruptcy court very soon. Then you can argue that it’s her fault because she ran up the credit card bills and she can blame you for spending your entire paycheck on alcohol. If you like that option, just keep on moving as you’re doing now. If you’d like to have a happier ending, I suggest you learn how to communicate with one another. Communication requires more than just the ability to use words. Any two-year-old can do that. Since you’re the one writing, I’m going to make some suggestions for you. First, it’s important that you let your wife know that you see her point of view. Second, you need to be able to calmly let her know where you are coming from. And, finally you need to suggest a solution to the problem that will be agreeable to both of you. (Another little hint: When communicating with your wife, SHUT THE TELEVISION OFF. There is nothing on that television that won’t show up as a rerun someday. And there is nothing on tv as important as your marriage.) So contact your wife and tell her something like this: “Honey, I know you are upset about the mess in the living room. I appreciate the fact that you want to give us a nice looking home. Right now I am tired from working all day and need to relax for a little while. I promise I will get this job done. Will it work for you if I spend ½ hour a day on the garage during the work week and three to four hours a day on the week-end until the job is done?“ If this isn’t a compromise you like, then find one. And be prepared for her to come up with her own compromise. If she does, try to keep calm. Just remember your three steps in communication and keep talking until you find the solution.

Furious Niece

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Q: My uncle is coming to my parents on Easter for dinner. The whole family is getting together. I told my parents if my uncle came, I wouldn’t. It’s causing a big scene. I don’t know why the rest of the family even invites my uncle to anything. He causes trouble for everybody. Last year when I moved into my own apartment, he told my parents he saw me with a married man. He didn’t bother to tell them I was also with the married man’s wife and kids at the zoo. I don’t want my parents mad at me but since he does this to everybody, I don’t see why they keep inviting him.

A: Dear Furious: Nearly everyone has family members that they would prefer to avoid. That is why there are famous old sayings like: ‘You can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family.’ I don’t know if you’re young enough to have enjoyed the movie ‘The Lion King’. In that movie, the Lion King is talking to his brother. When he is finished, the parrot tells him ‘There’s one in every family. Two in mine, in fact.’  The rest of your family has just come to accept that your uncle is the one in your family. You’re old enough to live on your own now so it’s time you begin showing some maturity. Obviously, your family isn’t going to exclude your uncle from gatherings. If you choose to refuse to attend family functions where he is invited, you will be missing some potentially good times with the people you love. And you will be hurting others who love you. Why do that? You don’t necessarily have to sit down and have a heart-to-heart with him at the family gathering. You don’t even have to sit next to him at the table. Spend time with the rest of the family. Visit with them. If there is more than one table at the gathering, just sit at the opposite table. Enjoy the others in the family and spend as little time with your uncle as you can without creating a scene.


February 23 Quote of the Day

Thursday, February 24th, 2000

You cannot change what you refuse to confront.

Is there a problem you have been avoiding? It could be big or small. You’ve avoided it because it seems that the answer can only be found by untangling this massive ball of yarn. Inside the ball of yarn are arguments with others, tiny problems that have to be resolved on the way to fixing the bigger problem, or emotional pain you will experience while solving the problem. You can let that problem stay to become a constant buzzing annoyance or you can confront it once and for all. Keep it forever? Or get rid of it? Your choice.