Conflict is one of those things that is going to happen in any relationship, it can come in all forms and last for different amounts of time. Conflict is usually never comfortable, nor enjoyable, and it usually ends up having us behave in ways we didn’t mean to and hear things about ourselves that we didn’t want to hear or know. But knowing all of this is going to happen leaves me with the question of “is my conflict productive?”
I know I am going to have conflict and I only have control over one thing, how I decide to go through the conflict.
I hate having conflict with Greg, it is never an enjoyable experience. We fall into the same traps that most people fall into and end up fighting about “how we are fighting” rather than what we were fighting about. We are not immune to the upsets of conflict because we do marriage ministry, in fact sometimes all of that information just becomes ammo in an argument.
We have spent time trying to figure out ways to communicate with each other that will help us not end up in conflict.
We are always learning and I find that I figure out more ways to be peaceful as time goes on. We have read a lot of books and I couldn’t possibly list all of the books we have found beneficial, but two that were really significant for us in finding increased harmony were Fight Fair: Winning At Conflict Without Loosing At Love by Tim Downs and Communication: Key to Your Marriage: A Practical Guide to Creating a Happy, Fulfilling Relationship by H. Norman Wright.
For me, the bottom line of conflicts becomes “is it productive?”
Greg and I had a fight once that was pretty silly and as I was taking a walk to cool off I began pondering the questions: What am I fighting FOR? What am I trying to accomplish with the argument? What is my win in it? As I began to ponder these, it dawned on me that I was in conflict for all of the wrong reasons, I was in conflict to be right and to keep my pride intact and take care of only my feelings.
I get conflict wrong more than I get it right, but I feel that trying to make it productive is a step in the right direction.
Please share your wisdom about how to make conflict productive below.