Resolving Conflict In Your Relationship

Conflict in relationships is inevitable. No matter how compatible you and your soul mate may be, there are times that you will disagree about various issues. You are after all, a unique individual, with a unique background and thought patterns. It is therefore, not the absence of conflict that denotes a good relationship; it is instead the ability to reconcile your differences with each other, without “blowing a fuse” or ending the relationship in the process.

Before we talk about resolving conflict, let us note that Building a Strong and Healthy Relationship takes courage and work. This work is well worth the effort! The dividends and the fulfillment can be huge.

There are some individuals who never engage in truthful communication with their partner. Their motto is “Silence is golden.” There are couples who say they have never had a disagreement. While this may be true, it is not the norm. It is very difficult for me to imagine how this could happen if both partners are engaging in true “heart to heart” communication. If you have been afraid to express yourself because of underlying securities in your heart, let me encourage you to take time to identify and examine these reasons so that you can become free in your own heart and mind. Each partner’s thoughts and opinions are valuable and should always be taken into consideration before major decisions are made. If you are afraid to express your thoughts, please remember that after God created you, he said of his creation, “It is good.” Your thoughts count and so do you! Resist rejection wherever it may show up, even if it is in your own mind. Remember that it takes patience to build a strong and healthy relationship. Grow in grace, celebrate yourself and your soul mate; God already has! If you are in an abusive relationship, please seek professional counsel immediately.

Now let’s look at some tips for resolving conflict.

  1. If you are angry, cool down first. It is never a good idea to begin arguing with your mate before you have had a chance to think things over and pray for God’s help. When you do, be prepared for God to show you the areas of your life that need to be changed. By the way, God will also show your spouse his/her shortcomings. Give yourself time to rid yourself of negative emotions like rage, hatred, violence, revenge etc. It will keep you from saying or doing something that you will regret later. Find the right time to talk. Choose your words wisely. You cannot retract the words that you have spoken. If you are tired and grumpy, wait until you are rested before talking things over. Don’t say what you think he/she wants you to say. Speak the truth in love. Keep the pitch of your voice as low and as pleasant as possible. Never, ever embarrass each other. Keep the conversations that cause tension, between the two of you. Ask God to help you speak in a loving manner. Watch your tone. Sometimes how you say something is as important as what you say.
  2. Be willing to listen to your partner/spouse’s point of view. Your soul mate may have a perspective that is totally different from yours. People handle situations based on their personality and their current knowledge about a situation. Don’t make assumptions. Don’t expect that the two of you will think alike in every situation. Never try to make your partner think like you do. It won’t work! When God made you he threw the mold away. Everyone is unique.
  3. Stop the accusations! Your marriage/relationship should not resemble an intense court room or war zone. Instead of accusing each other, try asking each other for help. You might say, “Honey, I am having a problem that I need your help with. Will you help me?” Stop assuming the worst. Ask each other questions and then wait for the response. It is not always easy, especially if one or both of you have decided to be untruthful, but if you will both be truthful, the Lord will help you to repair the breach. Remain humble, you may be the one who is asking for mercy or forgiveness the next time.
  4. Understand the intent of love. This concept literally revolutionized my own marriage. Once I began to understand what real love was all about, I understood that true love never intentionally brings harm or speaks evil of another. As we began to understand that we thought differently and therefore acted differently, we began to appreciate and actually celebrate our differences. Instead of us assuming a malicious intent, we began to approach each other to resolve misunderstandings. Once we settled in our hearts that we were not trying to intentionally hurt each other, our relationship went to another level. This can happen for you as well. The intent of love is always to bless!
  5. Be positive. Never allow your mate’s negativity to influence or control your emotional thermostat. Govern the thoughts of your mind at all times. Make a deliberate decision to remain positive. Maintain the peace of God in your heart in spite of the numerous attitudes that your mate, children or others may exemplify. The Bible says that God will keep you in perfect peace if you will keep your mind on His Word. Learn and meditate on the wonderful promises from the Bible as they pertain to your relationship. Maintain your peace; and Jesus, the Prince of Peace will always help you to reconcile your differences.

By Dr. Deborah McFarland, Author

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