Conflict in relationships is inevitable. In fact, when properly handled, it can be healthy. Most couples who have succeeded in resolving their conflicts testified of experiencing a closer bond with their partners after the storm.
Conflict can arise during good times as well as in bad times. In itself, conflict is not a sin, but it can potentially cause a person to violate his or her or that of the partner’s moral values and principles. Thus, it has to be handled well and ultimately resolved. No matter how difficult the situation is, conflict can be resolved, and knowing how to handle conflict in a relationship is crucial to resolving it.
Here are helpful guidelines for handling a conflict in a relationship:
Pray. Sometimes, in a conflict, the person that needs to change may not be the other person but us. If the conflict is due to an offense done to you, ask yourself: Was it done unintentionally or was it done on purpose? Sometimes, the offense may not be intentional. It means the other person may not have purposely done it to hurt or spite you. It would be such a waste of emotional energy to respond by being hurt to something the other person may not even be thinking. In this case, choose to let go. If it was done on purpose, I’d say choose to forgive. Admit that you are hurt and pray to God.
Be determined to resolve the conflict. If you are the offender, ask for forgiveness. If you are the offended party, grant forgiveness. This doesn’t mean, however, minimizing the seriousness of the offense. Being wounded and being wronged are two different things. Being wounded is accidental. If you are wounded, be patient and forgive. Being wronged is sometimes unintentional. If you are wronged, be more forgiving. Forgiveness is instant, but trust must be built over a long period of time.
If the conflict is due to a slight misunderstanding, knowing and accepting each other’s differences will help resolve the conflict.
Take the initiative. Do not wait for the other person to resolve the conflict. It is dangerous to ignore our hurts and feelings. They can pile up in time and can be blown out of proportion. Do not rush to resolve things right away. Wait for the right timing, and plan what you’ll say and how you’ll say things. Confrontation is usually something you cannot do spontaneously without hurting the other person.
Resolve not to quarrel. Examine your motivations for resolving the conflict. Confront your adversary in love. Be willing to listen more and speak less. Try to understand your partner’s viewpoint. Stick to the issues at hand. Avoid becoming hysterical or historical. Try to put yourself in the shoes of the other person. Focus on the problem not on the person. Chances are, you will always find fault in the other person. After all, we are imperfect individuals.
Value the relationship. The right reason for resolving a conflict is to help each other not hurt each other. Be prepared to accept the truth as you also speak the truth in love. Be careful not to attack the person. Give words of affirmation. Honest and loving communication impacts people in so many ways. It could change the way you and your partner communicate.
Focus on solving the problem. The goal is not to win or lose in a conflict. The goal is to resolve it. Be objective. Be a friend. Prepare your heart and check your motives. Get support from other people, but be careful that this does not add to the conflict. Some people are just more interested in knowing about the problem than in helping to solve it.
Handling a conflict is easier said than done, but it is doable and the results are rewarding.