A fun way to defuse conflict—and get something you want in the process.

I did it again. I made the mistake of asking my husband for help on some annoying glitch that came up one night while I was working on my computer. Wouldn't you know it, he made the mistake of being suckered into rescuing me. Considering our history, we both should have known better than to head down that perilous path.

These "technical support" sessions always ended the same way—heated conflict. I'd ask a simple I-want-a-quick-fix question. He'd roll his chair next to mine and deliver his let-me-tell-you-everything-there-is-to-know-about-computers answer, which would turn into an hour-long help session complete with tips on things such as reformatting my hard drive and over-clocking my CPU.

Teachable as I am, I'd accept graciously his well-meaning suggestions … with bared teeth, crossed arms, and resentful glares. Tuned into my receptive body language, he'd assume a harsh dictatorial tone that would set me off even more.

Unfortunately, this night was no different. After another one of his "help-sessions," we'd worked ourselves into a frenzy reminiscent of a shark feed off the Great Barrier Reef.

"You are so bullheaded!" he finally exploded.

"You're bossy!" I retorted.

"Oh yeah? Well, you just don't appreciate me! If you're going to act like this, you can figure it out yourself!"

"I don't appreciate you demeaning me and treating me like an idiot every time I ask for a little help with my computer! I don't have time to become a certified Microsoft Windows technician."

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Conflict; Conflict resolution; Marriage
Today's Christian Woman, Winter, 2006
Posted September 12, 2008

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