In the marriage relationship, it’s pretty much impossible to live this closely with another person and not encounter any conflict. Therefore, in order to have a healthy, whole relationship, it is imperative to gain skills and tools that will help address conflict in a way that helps you grow from it, rather than fall apart at the seams.
One of our recommended tools for learning how to deal with conflict is a book called The Peacemaker by Ken Sande. We’re currently leading a study of this book with some other married couples, and the concepts are rich and applicable to all relationships, not just marriage.
One of the key takeaways that we’ve been meditating on this week is learning how to see things as they really are. Can we be honest? Most of the times, when there’s conflict, we tend to focus on the negative characteristics of the other person, magnifying their flaws and minimizing their good traits. But this does nothing to effectively resolve the conflict, does it? Instead, this distorted view becomes the filter through which we see the other person which perpetuates the conflict, rather than resolve it in a healthy way.
But how can we try harder to see things as they really are, and not overemphasize (or ignore) the negative? One of the practices that we’re adopting is trying to believe the best intents/motives in the other person. This is my partner. He/she is on my side. He/she loves me. We’re on the same team.
Sometimes we have a toxic narrative playing on repeat in the recesses of our minds. Leading us to believe things about our spouses or other loved ones that are based on misinterpretations and misunderstandings and are just simply untrue. If we’re not careful, we can find ourselves throwing away entire relationships based on a false narrative created by our distorted view.
Learn to see your loved one as a total person and not just a composite of their flaws and shortcomings. What we know for sure is that whatever you focus on will surely become magnified. Try harder to see the good that exists, in order to provide enough balance for you to work together to focus on the resolution.
For more about peacemaking, check out The Peacemaker by Ken Sande.
Also, for other recommended resources, check out our Free Recommended Reading List HERE.