Margin for Error
My husband and I recently wrote a book. Together. On marital conflict.
Frankly, we’re over-qualified to author this work. We’ve been disagreeing for 40 years. We’re strongly opinioned and quick to share our thoughts. Intensely, at times.
Recently, following an “intense moment of fellowship,” I realized it might be time to cut one another a break. The issue was insignificant; it was a matter of principle. Or so I thought.
God encouraged me to examine which “principle” had placed me on my high horse, as mom might say. Was it love? Patience? Selflessness or humility?
Um, no. It was the I know I’m right, principle. I didn’t find that one in the Bible. It’s not there. I looked.
Then God whispered something odd.
Create a margin of error for one another.
What does that mean? Here’s what I found:
- an extra amount of something, such as time or money, which you allow because there might be a mistake in your calculations.
- an amount (usually small) that is allowed for in case of miscalculation or change of circumstances.
An extra amount of something? Like humility, patience or love, perhaps? In case of a change of circumstances? Isn’t that life these days?
So how do we fix it?
Create a margin for error.
Here are some tips to create that margin.
- Face to face communication. Ditch the drive-by interaction on your way out the door or while he’s brushing his teeth. Eye contact creates understanding.
- Write it down. What we hear and how much of it we remember aren’t the same thing. Make notes of info that you need to act on or recall.
- Check for understanding. Confirm you both heard and understand the details in the same way. “So, we need to leave for the airport by 4:30pm. Is that right?”
- Let. It. Go. Let it be done. Stop bringing up past “infractions” that hinder your relationship. Aren’t you glad God doesn’t do that with us? Read Micah 7:19.
Another definition of margin is a place of safety or something that makes a particular thing possible. Like loving one another all the days the good Lord gives us with fewer bumps and scrapes. Or scraps.
And you know I’m right about that.
Deb DeArmond is an expert in communication, relationship and conflict resolution. Her newest book, Don’t Go To Bed Angry. Stay Up and Fight! released June 21. Earlier books include Related by Chance, Family by Choice and I Choose You Today: 31 Choices to Make Love Last. Find Deb at Family Matters