When You’re Faced with Conflict and Hate Being Responsible: Conflict Resolution Memoirs

I hate arguing. It really is the pits. Throughout my timid life I’ve settled most of life’s conflicts by keeping my peace, ducking my head and resolving to get over whatever irked me.

Thankfully, living 24/7 with a loving, albeit stubborn, man requires me to grow-up and mature in the conflict resolution arena.

So, here are my bits of advice for resolving conflict thoroughly and lovingly. Take whatever you can from my meager words; I’m still learning.

  1. Relationships = Opportunity for Bitterness

Knowing that you can become bitter is the first step in choosing not to. No matter the size of the conflict (think “she keeps clanging her spoon in the cereal bowl” small to “we can’t agree on family size” big) there will be opportunities for you as an individual to grow angry, bitter and hurt over the situation. I think acknowledging that we can or will be hurt is a step worth knowing because only then can you move onto step two …

2.  Opportunity for Bitterness = Opportunity for Empathy

When we’re faced with conflict I’ve discovered that a major step toward reconciliation is being empathetic. Empathy, according to the Webster Dictionary, means “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated.”

In other words, to put yourself the other person’s moccasins. In the long-term scheme of things it doesn’t really matter how I feel about so-and-so’s irritating complaint. Instead of belittling their feelings or opinion it is more useful to put myself in their shoes (even if they seem ridiculous). Only when we decide to see their complaint from their eyes will we be ready for step 3.

3. Empathy = Chance for Resolution

Real, life-giving reconciliation involves taking responsibility for our actions and the impact they had (even when we did not intend for the impact to occur). To illustrate I’ll tattle on myself and my struggle with punctuality (it’s a family curse). Let’s say I’ve worked 15 minutes later then planned finishing an awesome library display and, therefore, am 15 minutes late picking up D from his 10 hour shift.

Most likely my Man will be a little irate. From experience the following situations become possible (okay, all of these scenarios have happened).  I could:

A) Offer a myriad of excuses instead of a genuine “I’m sorry for being irresponsible and making you wait for my lack of planning.” Excuses will most likely look like “Well, you’ve been late picking me up before so we’re even …”

B) Become irritated with my Man’s lack of patience and  grow impatient with his irritation. Situations like this most likely end up with a cold, silent ride home. :/

C) Take responsibility for not being punctual but accuse D of also falling short of true patience and understanding.

D) Take responsibility for not being punctual and for causing feelings of frustration in a normally calm, patient man who is simply ready to take his boots off and eat dinner at the agreed upon time.  Putting myself in my Man’s shoes (being empathetic) will allow me to be patient with his impatience and grace-filled with his momentary grumpiness. Instead of a cold ride home there will be open communication and trust will continue to be built between two sinners who need each other more than they know.

4) Resolution = Growing in Individual Maturity and Opportunity for Relationship Growth

When we choose to be empathetic, responsible and grace-filled we choose both individual and relationship growth. We choose opportunities to develop deeper bonds, richer trust and increased wisdom. We love our neighbor as ourselves and honor our relationships.

Because it’s like my mom always said, “You can only be responsible for yourself.”

And that my friend is a beautiful thing.

Are you an avoider, an arguer or an avid resolution maker? How have you discovered to peacefully and fully resolve conflict (both big and small)? Share your ideas with us … I’d love to know!

With lots of love and coffee,

Frannie

Beautiful Asking: The Lord’s Prayer

Coffee With You Series

Hello, lovely people!

Welcome to our moment of rest and encouragement. Pull up your chair, pour your coffee and prepare to be reminded how beautiful and lovely your Lord God is.

Provision is a blessing we often forget to notice. We eat, sleep, drive, walk and relate every day but seldom stop to see the hand of God in each step. Lately, I have been forming the habit of praying the Lord’s Prayer at least once a day; while each phrase works something good in my heart I am often particularly drawn to the simple request, “Give us this day our daily bread.”

God works wonders in my heart through that sentence. It’s a request, my asking my Heavenly Father to meet my needs for this day. It’s eminent and trusting and along the lines of, “Father God, please provide my breakfast, lunch and dinner today.”

I believe this request extends far beyond our stomachs; when we ask God to meet our daily needs we are, in essence, asking for the strength we need to serve our families, the ability to perform our jobs well, and the grace to love someone as Christ loves us.

For me the knowledge that God gives so much just by our asking is overwhelmingly encouraging and shocking. God of the universe sees my needs and meets them in His way and timing.  It’s humbling to know that Someone so capable notices me.

It’s also challenging. Sometimes, I focus on what little I have. I haven’t much status or wealth or vivaciousness. I’m limited on the amount I can give. Just like the lad with five barley loaves and two fishes I sometimes feel like what I have to offer the world is lacking. But God says it’s just enough.

It takes a lot of faith to believe that what I have is more than enough when given to my great Provider. If every good thing is a gift from Him who am I to complain about the amount of it? My personality, status, and wealth are merely gifts given by Him and He wouldn’t short change one of His daughters.

Daily Bread Coffee Series Authentic Virtue

How amazing is it that this one, seven word sentence can strike the match of encouragement, humility and thankfulness. As we pray “Give us this day our daily bread” we’re lighting a flame of beauty in our lives. Suddenly, our days become brighter because we’re seeing how much God cares and exactly what He can do in and through us.

We serve a great God, don’t we?

With so much love and coffee,

Frannie

September Joys

The foliage has been losing its freshness through the month of August, and here and there a yellow leaf shows itself like the first gray hair amidst the locks of a beauty who has seen one season too many…. September is dressing herself in showy dahlias and splendid marigolds and starry zinnias. October, the extravagant sister, has ordered an immense amount of the most gorgeous forest tapestry for her grand reception.

-Oliver Wendell Holmes

I love this time of year. Here I sit, coffee nearby, outside my door listening to lullabies, watching the golden sun hit the top of September trees. The windows will stay open till the close of day, candles will stay lit and snuggles will be had on this cool, glorious day.

How are you enjoying your September day?

Love, coffee and blessings,

Frannie

Coffee Jottings

The service of coffee in the living room is the perfect leisurely end to a good dinner and the perfect prelude to a pleasant evening. A silver coffee service is, of course, the most luxurious, but lacking one it is still possible to maintain an air of formality. There are modern coffee services in pewter, copper and wood-and-glass combinations which have all the dignity of silver. There are ceramic sets which run the gamut from severe simplicity to gay peasant designs. The coffee service, too, must have a tray, as well as pot, sugar bowl and cream pitcher. In addition, it may have demi-tasses and small spoons to supplement the regular coffee cups.

Woman’s Home Companion Household Book, 1948
There isn’t anything more luxurious to me then a cup of coffee and a visit with my Dear Man. Those times are always full of sweetness and genuine pleasure. Almost as nice is hosting a few gals who take cream, sugar and a cookie or two; those sort of days add a lot to my simple taste of happiness.
In our home, coffee is served very hot in dark brown mugs (a wedding gift) or an occasional bright colored cup, in case one is feeling festive. And though I take my coffee plain and black it is a special day when I happen to have cream or honey in stock and ready for guests.
How do you enjoy a sip or two?
With love, blessings and coffee,
Frannie
(please click the picture above for credit)

10 Benefits of Marrying an INTJ

10 Benefits of Marrying an INTJ

If you’ve read Authentic Virtue very long there are at least three things you’ve discovered. One, that I really like hot, black coffee and visiting with family; two, that Jesus Christ is my daily Friend. And, three, that I have one handsome stud-of-a-muffin, blonde husband. 😉

Dalton’s personality type is the famous and lonely INTJ. He’s the calculating Architect and his people only make up about 2% of the population. INTJ’s are marked by there ability to value logic/truth over emotions. We couldn’t help but laugh as I read his profile to him — what a match! The Architect is a genius of sorts and because they base their lifestyle upon keen logic they can sometimes appear cold. Their dislike for tradition and social conventions lacking base in reason can make them appear to be the odd duck. INTJ’s make their way through life utilizing their love of logic and, as the 16Personalities writes, “People with the INTJ personality type are imaginative yet decisive, ambitious yet private, amazingly curious, but they do not squander their energy.”

I love it. I love my man and his mostly text-book INTJ personality. Because these guys are often misunderstood or misrepresented (Think Gandalf the Grey, Katniss and Professior Moriarty) I want to list ten benefits of marrying an INTJ. Because these folk are special and, like every personality, declare the glory of God.

1. You always know where you stand

This. IS. Awesome. I always know where I stand with Dalton; guile is not in his nature (or what little was left he surrenders to the Lord). INTJ’s are transparent, there is no need to pretend to feel what they do not. He says what he means and means what he says; there are no guessing games to play which is incredibly comforting to this feeling-oriented, sensing, multi-layered gal.

2. You can trust their opinion (because they’ve studied every possibility)

Naturally, Dalton and I have the occasional differing of opinions. We may never agree that Dr. Pepper is, in fact, the heavenly dew served to angels (how can it not?). And while I may not adopt them, I trust D’s opinions because he forms them with the most careful scrutiny of thought and observation.

I have the tremendous treasure of an INTJ who strongly believes in God’s written Word. And because of his careful, logical approach to life I rest easy knowing his principals and opinions (though occasionally different than mine) are founded on nothing else but on true wisdom. What a guy! 😉

3. You will be a lifetime-learner

INTJ’s are incredibly curious and become well-versed in their interests. Naturally, their interests vary to whatever grabs their attention. A few of my INTJ’s interests include: God’s Word, health and fitness (got my own personal trainer, ya’ll), me 😉 , anime (snicker, snicker) and food.

My Guy loves to share his interests with  anyone who genuinely cares; it is so fun to watch his eyes light up as he shares his latest discoveries in Scripture, how best to care for your body or to explain the  tastes and textures of a durian.

If you can appreciate your INTJ’s curiosity and interests you will never live a boring, stale life and you will be the better for it.

4. Your partner’s reactions will be based on logic

INTJ’s ability to react to life based on logic is a blessing often misunderstood. I love that my Man reacts to life’s troubles (and my own craziness) logically and with understanding. He isn’t emotionally dependent. The wife of an INTJ can trust that his responses to life will be balanced and logical. There will be little to no melt-downs, emotional crutches or feelings-based binges. When death, loss, disease or hurt come your way you can be certain that you will have a rock of a man next to you, ready to hold you as you cry.

5. You will have a sounding-board

As impressive (and possibly intimidating) as an INTJ’s logic is their open-mindedness is better. Dalton is always open to my suggestions and opinions; he is not too proud to believe his way is the best or only way. If given a better idea INTJ’s will gladly take to the suggestion and throw off their previous findings.

6.  You will never fear their compromise

INTJ’s are not swayed by their feelings, though they feel very deeply. Because of this INTJ’s are able to withstand temptation, feelings and situations that would normally disable the feeling-oriented man. (Of course, these folks are human and sinners like you and I … let’s not get carried away 😉

I love, *love,* love that I can trust my Husband. His character is unmoving (sometimes annoyingly so). His profession allows for a myriad of temptations to face him every day yet I know that my Man will remain steadfast and principled. It is a huge blessing.

Note: Your INTJ, though amazing, is still a sinner needing a Savior every day, so let’s be careful not to neglect prayer for our people and provide them with the same ample grace and love we need. <3

7. You’ll have a Jack-of-All-Trades

I mentioned earlier that marring an INTJ will encourage you to be a life-time learner. But it’s awesome to know that INTJ’s do  not limit their knowledge to their head. If you marry an INTJ you will marry  a jack-of-all-trades. Their determination, curiosity and independence  will ensure you a guy (or gal) with a mysterious toolbelt of experience and knowledge.

My Man was raised by a single mother who owned a hair salon and video store; most of D’s childhood was spent playing in a salon, organizing movies and listening to ladies gab with curlers in their hair. I knew that D had a lot of knowledge about a lot of things but when our tire went flat last Christmas in the middle of nowhere at 9 pm I was sure we ‘d have to wait till morning until tire shop could be found. He just isn’t a car guy. Imagine my surprise when my Man dug around, found the necessary parts and began the long, cold process of switching out the tires.

(Talk about attractive! 😉

Later, as we happily climbed into the repaired truck, I asked him how he knew what to do and if he had changed a truck’s tire before. His answer was no but that when he was little his dad had him rotate all the tires of his  tractor-trailer.

All I know is that being married to a jack-of-all-trades is a huge blessing. Oh, having a guy who happily changes a stubborn tire with a worn-out crank in snowy darkness is a great blessing too.

8. INTJs are fun

The quirks, frankness and vast knowledge of an  INTJ make them a lot of fun to be around. My INTJ is more quiet upon meeting new acquaintances but once he finds his place or niche he’s a riot. His unique personality allows for a lot of laughs and his desire to be making memories (a very logical thing) means he is very motivated to get people out and about doing something fun. His unique insight brings humor to hard, uncomfortable situations … something I have learned to appreciate and need.

9. Your INTJ will believe in you

Because INTJ’s base their life decisions on logic you can be sure their attention and love for their mate will be sincere and unrelenting. D chose to pursue me; his affection was not casual or hormonal. He honestly believed I would be an excellent choice. (Goodness me! 😉

Your INTJ will be a wonderful encourager and an avid support. D believes I can do anything I choose to do; an INTJ will encourage your interests (even if they do not share them) and you can count on their pride as you accomplish your goals.

10. INTJs are honest and frank

An INTJ will not waste your time with unnecessary tact (ouch!). This can be difficult to adjust to if you are a feeling-oriented personality (meaning you value folk’s feelings more than truth/logic). I know for me, an ISFJ, it has been shocking to hear my Husband’s frank opinions. Over time I have learned to accept and even appreciate his ability to speak plainly and without the buttering-up so often used by our culture.

I have also learned to appreciate the gentleness and kindness I so often see in my husband; it is important to remember that the Heavenly Father is always allowing the Holy Spirit to conform each of us into His image and that that looks different for each personality. My INTJ is purposes to speak the truth in love and to only share what he believes will benefit the listener. These are awesome qualities I greatly admire.

There you have it. Ten awesome benefits from marrying an INTJ personality. If you are so fortunate to have one of these special people in your life I encourage you to enjoy them fully. God’s imprint and handiwork is so visible in them that it’s too fun not to enjoy them.

Tell me your story. Do you have an INTJ? Have you taken the Myers-Brigg  personality test? Tell me who you are!

With love, blessings and coffee,

Frannie

( If you are not familiar with this set of personality traits I encourage you to take check out 16Personalities and take the online quiz; I’ve undergone the actual pen and paper test and was surprised to see the online quiz agree with the results. It has been an awesome tool for diagnosing family members (with their permission, of course) and understanding myself.)