Posted on Sunday, February 6, 2011 in Uncategorized
Want Loving Relationships? Great! But Know This, Conflict Is Inevitable.
Wow many times have I wished that I had listened patiently rather than interrupted Amy? My impatience has ignited more squabbles than anything else in our relationship.
Here’s an example: Amy is explaining something she is concerned about. She doesn’t say it exactly the way I think she should have and rather than let her continue I make slightly sarcastic comment or ask a subtly critical question. I correct her word usage or criticize her about using “always” or “never”.
We don’t fight much, but when we do there is almost always a moment in which I think to myself – How did I end up here again? How can I apologize? What didn’t I learn? What can I do to get back us back to focusing on our interests rather than engaged emotionally in our positions?
Fortunately, we have often followed one of our shared expectations:
When we are angry we try to resolve it within a day. No more than two.
We learned that principle from the bible, “When you are angry, do not sin, and be sure to stop being angry before the end of the day. Do not give the devil a way to defeat you.” [Ephesians 4:26-27, NCV]
Ideally we would listen attentively to one another, respect one another, submit to one another and forgive one another, but sometimes that hasn’t all happened by bedtime. The feelings linger, the facts are in question, and the friendship singed.
When conflict arises questions surface.
How often do you hold back what you are thinking in a conflict? Why is that? How often do you wonder what the other is thinking after they say something in a conflict? Why do you think she or her is holding back?
In subtle ways it goes all the way back to our childhood.
As Children We Learn Conflict Resolution Principles
How did your parents deal with conflict? Did both of your parents deal with conflict similarly? Or, more likely were their conflict resolution styles different? And, if you have had several parent figures in your life you’ve undoubtedly learned parts of many conflict resolution styles.
Did you learn from aggressive people? Passive people? Passive-aggressive people? Assertive people? Fight, flight or flow? Attack, hide or discuss?
When did you have a recent conflict? What was it about? If you resolved the conflict, how? If not, why not? There are many possible reasons why conflict lingers, but the bottom line is that people will not seek solutions until:
- – They agree there is a problem.
- – They trust that addressing the problem will make their life better.
- – They agree that their needs, wants and limitations will be respected.
As much as possible choose to respect each other, even when you disagree. So that, “When you are angry, do not sin, and be sure to stop being angry before the end of the day. Do not give the devil a way to defeat you.”