Do you know one of those couples that seem to get closer every time they have a disagreement? You know, those folks who somehow make having difficult conversations seem desirable; because such conversations actually bring them into a better place once they’re over?
What is it about those couples that allow them to use conflict for their gain, and not their destruction?
The Faithtree Resources team has identified many reasons these couples navigate conflict so well. We think they’ll work for you too. Here are a few:
Pay attention to your audience.
In other words, if you want low conflict when engaging in hard conversations, you have to pay attention to who it is that you’re talking to.
Ask yourself questions like,
· “Are there any considerations that affect this person’s perspective that I should keep in the front of my mind?” (This includes things like their cultural background, their current life stressors, or even, if they might be tired or hungry.).
· “Am I projecting anything on my partner right now?”
· “What is this person really trying to convey in this conversation?”
Knowing that the person in front of you needs to be studied in an ongoing way so that you might truly know their viewpoint will allow you to keep perspective in conflict, and also, to truly meet the needs of the person in front of you.
Identify Common Values and Goals
In conflict, it’s hard to keep your eye on the ball. If you identify common values and goals, those things you both want, having tough conversations gets immeasurably easier because you’ve found common ideals you’re both working towards.
Establish Rules for Engagement
Listen, in conflict, we all get tested in different ways. Knowing what is and what is not acceptable is a key strategy for protecting how you engage in conflict. It’s like a layer of security when emotions get high.
Decide with your spouse (or kids, or friend, or whomever you might be in conflict with) what’s off the table. No threats. No name-calling. No cursing. No patronizing tone.
Utilize the Church’s Toolbox
The Church, in Her Wisdom, offers us so many go-to helps as we navigate conflict. Participating in the Sacramental life of the Church, being in relationship with a spiritual father or mother, and praying together in community are essential to living a low-conflict life.
And we can look to Jesus as the Perfect Example! Forgiveness, self-sacrifice, and certainly prayer are all things He constantly engaged in. These will be extraordinary tools for us as we seek to glorify God in all that we do- even our conflict.
Next week our team is launching The Art of Fighting, a 6-part series to help you navigate conflict in a way that is Christ-centered and does in fact, seek to glorify God.
Stay tuned for more details soon!