Are you kidding me?! I hate conflict, I avoid it at all costs. Every time I get into it, it turns out badly. What do you mean it is good for you?!
I’m so glad you asked.
If you are trying to avoid friction, go live on a secluded island because as long as there are two people together, there will be issues from time to time. Add to that the fact that both parties still have a sinful nature in place and problems are definitely going to come up now and again.
That means it is in our best interest to figure out how to have conflict in a way that does not tear down the relationship but builds it up, that actually brings about understanding and closeness rather than separation and anger.
I win, I win, I win, I win
This is conflict style number 1. If you win that means there is going to be a loser. When one person loses in a relationship, don’t you find that the relationship as a whole loses? Did your coming out on top cause your partner to feel better toward you? Feel the love do you as you get the power and control?
Did you win the battle and lose the war?
I don't want to fight
Here is conflict style number 2. Few people do want to fight and many just back down, stuff their thoughts and feelings and give in. Probably not the best strategy.
If you continually give in, don’t get heard, don’t feel safe, and don’t get your needs met then the end result is resentment, bitterness, distance, and loneliness. Sounds great, sign me up.
The problem here is the word “fight.” Most of us see confrontation as a fight. Fights are painful at best and destructive at worse so it is no wonder we avoid them at all costs.
How about if you change the word from “fight” to “communicate?”
Sounds better already, right? To communicate means to be heard and to hear. That is a basic longing for all of us. We want someone to actually hear the cries of our hearts and have someone trust us enough to tell us what is inside them as well.
To be with someone who is safe enough to see your heart and not laugh at it, hurt it, or despise it is to have the beginnings of true connection.
Paradigm shift with a side of patience, please
Instead of me versus you, how about let’s understand each other? Be fascinated by your partner in communication (paradigm shift). What is the other person thinking, feeling, wanting? How did s/he come to that perspective? Be in their shoes and head for a minute. Why do they see it that way, what is going on in their world that brings them to this stance?
You don’t have to agree, but the goal is to really hear and understand others’ perspectives with respect and patience.
If your conflict, excuse me I mean “communication” partner is also trying to understand you then we have the beginning of a whole new way to talk, process, and come to agreements.
We both win
What a concept! What if every time a dispute turned into an opportunity to not only really communicate but also have both parties feel that the outcome was good for both?
If my goal is for you to win and your goal is for me to win, then conflict is no longer something to be avoided.
Even more than that –
Make it your goal to love in every confrontation you have. Make it your desire to truly communicate and glorify God and reflect His unity through our relationships.