Recently I started a not series on conflict. This series will not be posted on a schedule but will come at random times and the mood hits me and I feel I have something to write. To see the first post, click here. To catch all of the post filed in the category conflict, click here.

I believe the core issue in conflict is mismatched expectations.

That is to say that one or often both people in the relationship have frustration that leads to conflict because they had expectations that were not met. Dr. Bob Lehman recently shared an interesting perspective with me that reinforced this belief. We talked about decision making in marriages. Think about the conflict in decision making for most relationships.

In any relationship, you essentially have three choices on who the decision maker will be. It can be you, them or both of you. When couples disagree on who this decision maker is they will almost always fall into conflict in the relationship. Give a try. Follow these steps to see how well matched your expectations are to your spouse.

  1. Take two sheets of paper.
  2. Draw three columns in the paper
  3. Write the decision issues in your relationship in the first column
  4. In the next column write down who you think should be the decision maker (you, them or both of you)
  5. In the next column record your spouse’s answers (they should have the same list of decisions on their own sheet, which is the second sheet)

How did it go? Are you in agreement? Are there some surprising disagreements? Tell me in the comments.

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