Nothing at all major; Just enough yuckiness though to begin to impede my roll as the wife, mom, cook, disciplinarian, laundry do-er . . . anyway, you get my point.

I’ve opted to sleep on the couch so as not to disturb my husbands rest while I alternate between nose-blowing & coughing. Amazingly enough I find myself wide awake at 5 a.m. with nothing to do but finally read those coffee table books I lay out, simply because they are pretty.

You know what else though? Those pretty books are actually useful.

I have three of them devoted to the topic of marriage. I’ve had them for nine years, and mostly I just dust them.

But at 5 a.m. with a houseful of peaceful sleepers & nothing left to do, I start to pour over them.

In Gary Smalley’s A Love That Lasts Forever (Smalley, 2000) I found some great truths that I want to share.

The Smalley “Fighting Rules”

1. First clarify what the actual conflict is. Make sure that you understand your partner as clearly as you can before proceeding to a resolution. Listening is vital here! Endeavor to work for understanding in tow key areas: your mate’s feelings, and then, needs.

2. Stick to the issue at hand. Don’t dredge up past hurts or problems, whether real or perceived. But if you tend to veer off the issue, you might want to see if there is any other key factor in this conflict, such a s fatigue, low estrogen levels, low blood sugar, stress, work problems or spiritual or emotional issues.

3. Maintain as much tender physical contact as possible. Hold hands.

4. Avoid sarcasm.

5. Avoid “you” statements. Use the words “I feel” or “I think.” No past or future predictions (“You always . . . ” “You won’t ever . . . “).

6. Don’t use “hysterical” statements or exaggerations. (“This will never work out.” “You’re just like your father.”)

7. Resolve any hurt feelings before continuing the conflict discussion. (“I shouldn’t have said that. Will you forgive me?”)

8. Don’t resort to name-calling. Don’t allow the conflict to escalate your tempers. If this happens, agree to continue the discussion later.

9. Avoid power statements and actions. For example: “I quit!” “You sleep on the couch tonight!” “You’re killing me!” “I hate you!”

10. Don’t use the silent treatment.

11. Keep your arguments as private as possible to avoid embarrassment.

12. Use the “drive-through” method of communication when arguing. (Repeating back what you think the other person is saying.)

13. Resolve your conflicts with win-win solutions; both parties agree with the solution or outcome of the argument. Work on resolution only after both understand feelings and needs.

14. Above all, strive to reflect honor in all your words and actions during the resolution of your conflicts.

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Romans 14:19

Ladies, I hope that you found the tips on fighting fair as helpful as I did.

Striving for peace,