Nobody likes conflict. Nobody sane anyhow. But like I mentioned in part one (read it here), conflict can be good for our relationships. It all depends on how we fight. Both good and evil can come from the use of dynamite, and that’s also true of conflict.
Last week (read it here), I encouraged you to do the following:
Recognize the cause.
Listen to understand.
Own your part.
Express hurt without hostility.
If you think any of this is easy, you’re not paying attention (or you live in a bubble). Conflict resolution takes work. Hard work.
It also takes these final three things:
As if the previous steps weren’t already humbling enough, this step requires a greater sacrifice than a hard discussion or owning up to a mistake. Humbling yourself means what I like to call “practicing otherliness.”
Because of the love we have for our spouses, family members, or friends, we must place their needs above ours and treat them as more important than we are (Romans 12:10). We lay down our personal rights (even our right to be right)—like Christ did for the Church—in order to restore a right relationship (Philippians 2:5-8).
Being humble doesn’t mean that one person becomes a doormat for the other; rather, this is an intentional act of honor within healthy boundaries and with reasonable expectations for the sake of love.
Humbling yourself is the antidote to pride. Humble hearts beat in tune with God’s heartbeat.
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, stop being proud, arrogant and stubborn, and God will lift you and your relationships up” (James 4:10, New Revised Bubna Version).
The three most powerful words in the English language are “I love you.” But do you know the five most useful? “I’m sorry. Please forgive me.”
When spoken at the right time for the right reasons and with the right tone, these simple words bring order back to chaos. They shine light into the darkness. They make whole what was cracking. They bridge a seemingly ever-increasing gap between two people. They heal.
And when a husband and a wife or two friends can both say these words in all sincerity to each other following a fight, something truly God-inspired has occurred.
Reaffirm your love.
Conflict is certain, so wise men and women should plan for it to sometimes wreak havoc on their marriages and all their relationships. No one wants to endure it, but as you’ve read, if handled correctly with the relationship placed above self, conflict can draw people much closer together.
Successfully navigating the turbulent waters of conflict will also make you that much better at resolving conflict the next time a storm comes to rock your love boat.
So be vocal with your love. Be generous with your praise. Be public with your honor. Problems will occur in your relationships, but with God’s help and your cooperation, conflict can transform your relationship instead of destroying it.
Here’s my money-back guarantee (sorry, if that sounds like a used car salesman): Change the way you view conflict and the way you handle it and the result is a much stronger relationship.
Yes, one person + one person = two perspectives and inevitable conflict, but that reality doesn’t have to damage a relationship. You can fight and grow.
Choose well. Live well. Fight well. Be well.
A portion of this blog is an excerpt from my book: MR. & MRS. ~ HOW TO THRIVE IN A PERFECTLY IMPERFECT MARRIAGE.
ORDER IT HERE. The eBook (digital) version is on sale today for only $2.99.
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It’s great for couples you need a “tune-up” or couples in trouble. It is also a helpful premarital book.
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