When conflict arises there is typically a “winner” and a “loser.” I know, and can admit, I have a bad habit of wanting to be right when there’s some sort of disagreement. As I continually grow and mature, I have garnered a few tools to help with conflict that fosters relationship rather than division. One such tool is the “101 rule” for conflict resolution. It is especially valuable in marriage, but is applicable in any situation.
What is the 101 Rule?
I picked this up from one of my graduate classes, and thought I would pass it on to you, because I see the incredible value in this approach.
What is the “101 rule” for conflict resolution you ask? It’s simple really.
Find one thing (or 1%) in common that you can come together on, and then give it 100% of your effort.
In his book The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey refers to this as finding the third alternative. The first alternative being I win, you lose. The next being I lose, you win. The third alternative being I win, you win.
The 101 rule helps you to seek a third alternative when conflict arises.
Example From Scripture
When Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well He could have chastised her for her lifestyle and behavior. He could have sent her away because of her bloodline. He could have dismissed her on the very fact that he was a male in a very patriarchal society. Instead he found the one thing in common, the water, and he built upon that. He used the water metaphor as a means to foster relationship. This was the one thing that He gave 100% effort to.
What happened because of it? She ran and told the whole town, and it says that many believed in Him because of it. He used this same method to talk about the tax collectors, prostitutes, and adulterers that he interacted with.
Conflict Resolution In Marriage
What is the conflict in your marriage? Nothing? Well, you’re better than most, nay every other couple. Conflict doesn’t have to be a knock-down drag-out fight. Sometimes conflict is deciding where to eat. Sometimes conflict is deciding who does the dishes, or where to move to. Then, sometimes conflict is the passionate and emotional struggle between two people with different viewpoints and ideas.
The 101 rule allows you to find one small thing to agree on and then give it your all. There is a cliche saying that says, “Marriage isn’t 50/50. It’s 100/100.” This is exactly what the win/win scenario is.
You can allow conflict and struggle to divide you. You can keep sweeping it under the rug until eventually you trip over it and do more damage; or you can seek resolution and forward momentum.
When you apply the 101 rule, you are looking for the win/win for both parties. You are both finding the common ground to foster relationship and build upon.
Christ-centered conflict resolution is a matter of dying to the self, and allowing Christ to live through you. The self, or the flesh, will always raise its ugly head against the Spirit to create and keep conflict. It’s our job to kill it, and allow the Lord to bring resolution.
Trust me when I say, I’m no poster boy for mastering conflict resolution. Honestly sometimes I suck at it, but like Paul said, “not that I have already obtained it, but I press on toward the goal.”
Will you press on with me?
We can choose to stay stagnant in our relationships, or we can choose to press on and get better. If you begin to make intentional steps forward in our interactions with each other, you can make a huge difference in how you develop the culture of your home.
This approach is one small way to strengthen your marriage relationship. Put it to the test and let me know how it works for you.