I. HARSH STARTUP
with criticism and/or sarcasm dooms you to failure
Pr 16:21 sweetness of the lips increases learning
Eph 4:2 with all humility gentleness, longsuffering, bearing with one another in love 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit bond of peace
II. THE FOUR HORSEMEN
Php 2:3 (no) selfishness or empty pride, but in humility let each esteem others better than themselves
A. Criticism goes beyond legitimate [complaint] (specific action); adding negative words re: character or personality; generalization
“you always…” “you never…”“you’re the type of person who …” “why are you so …” . When not responded to contempt canters in.
Eph 4:29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.
B. Contempt is sarcasm, cynicism, name-calling, eye-rolling, mockery, hostile humor, insults, leading to disgust/distain/disrespect
Fueled by long-simmering negativity from unresolved differences makes resolution impossible leading to more conflict. [appreciation]
Eph 4:31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice 32 be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you. 5:2 walk in love as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us
C. Defensiveness escalates the negative, critical, attacking conflict, in effect, blaming your partner rather than [accepting responsibility]
“The problem isn’t me, it’s you.” Excuses; Cross-complaining: “That’s not true, you’re the one who…” yes-but/(and) Whining “It’s not fair.”
1Cor 6:7 Why don’t you rather accept wrong 1Pt 2:23 when reviled, did not revile in return...but committed to Him who judges righteously
D. Stonewalling: rather than confronting, one stops caring, disengages; avoids a fight (and flooding) but loses rlshp [self-soothing]
Eph 4:25 putting away lying, let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. 26 Be angry, do not sin
III. FLOODING defensive emotional disengagement from overwhelming negativity leading to distance and loneliness [cool down]
Col 3:12 as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.
IV. SHORT-CIRCUIT Communication & info processing/attention reduced; creative problem solving/resolving gone=GRIDLOCK [reset]
Ps 18:2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. 6 In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice…my cry
V. REJECTED REPAIR ATTEMPTS (when noticed and [accepted]) deescalate the tension, putting on the brakes-preventing flooding
Js 3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.
14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth.15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic.16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield/easily entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Col 3:19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.
VI. HISTORY REWRITTEN everything “they” do or did- is recast in a negative light; the present is hopeless.[remembering attraction]
Phil 4:8 whatever things are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, if any virtue and praiseworthy--meditate on these things.
VII. Gottman [Remedies]: www.gottman.com/marriage/self_help/
- Soften start-up; Edit yourself; Learn to make [specific complaints] & requests (when X happened, I felt Y, I want Z)
- Conscious communication: Speaking the unarguable truth & listening generously; [Sooth/Calm] rather than escalate; Exit early
- Validate and value your partner (worth, words, feeling and perspective with empathy); Accept influence and Repair Attempts
- Shift to [appreciation] (5 times as much positive feeling & interaction as negative); High respect standards; Be Tolerant
- [Claim responsibility]: “What can I learn from this?” & “What can I do about it?”; Focus on the positive; Compromise
- Re-write your inner script: replace righteous indignation/victimization with [soothing/validating thots of appreciation/gratitude]
- Practice getting undefended (allowing their utterances to be what they really are: just thoughts/puffs of air); let go of the unhistorical
Questions for Reflection/Discussion/Response:
- What causes most disputes in relationships? Can a finite being meet infinite needs? How do we live with the irresolvable?
- How does our trust in God influence our relationships? How does getting one’s worth and value from God aid relationships?
- What would cause someone to reject a “repair attempt”? How do seeking forgiveness and bitterness factor into reconciliation?
- If 70% of problems are “unsolvable” and gridlocked, what hope is there for oneness and unity? How do you resolve gridlock?
- What things can you do this week to develop better relationships with “significant” others? How can you eliminate the horsemen?