In Relationships, Lose Battles to Win War and Peace.
If you're married or in any kind of a long-term relationship, how many times have you treated your relationship as a battlefield, trying to always be "right." Do you know it's better to sometimes lose the battle, admitting you may be wrong and the other is right, to ultimately have a "win-win" in the relationship "war" and maintain peace?
If the discussion or argument in question requires you to admit you're wrong and the other person is right, or an apology is needed if you actually did something requiring one, go ahead and do it. You'll be amazed at the calm that ensues as your partner in the relationship weighs what his or her reaction should be.
When you are right and the circumstances call for you to stand fast, especially for the other person's good, maintain your stance in a loving way, avoiding confrontation. Explain the reason for your position without preaching or in a condescending way. If what you are suggesting is for his or her well being, explain why you are speaking up.
Monitor Your Thoughts Before Arguing
It's so easy to begin arguing when your ego insists you are right and gets your emotions all riled up. Get into the habit of monitoring your thoughts when you "feel" like arguing. Be aware of what you are telling yourself, stop the thoughts, and replace them with thoughts keeping everything in perspective. Recognize what's really important.
Withholding forgiveness can poison a relationship.
The "flip side" of having to apologize is the need for the other person to apologize. Whether or not he or she apologizes, you should be ready to forgive. The seemingly insurmountable wall people often face when there's a need to forgive is their insistence that the person says they are sorry first. Withholding forgiveness can poison a relationship.
Instead of pointing a finger at the other person, remember three fingers point back at you. Before you insist you are right, make sure you are right. It's that simple. Take an honest look at yourself. Many times we let our ego and emotions blind us to our shortcomings and what we've done to hurt the relationship, instead of contributing to its health.
Focus on the Issue at Hand
When you "feel" the urge to bring up what you think the person said or did in the past, or what you think they will do in the future, practice mindfulness. You can't change the past and you can't predict the future. Mentally and emotionally focus on the issue at hand, actively listening to what is being said to avoid misunderstandings.
Conflict in relationships is inevitable. Allowing the conflict to destroy your relationship is not. If you're in a long-term relationship, you will experience ups and downs, but open, honest, and loving communication will go a long way to ensure a beneficial experience for all involved.
Keep God involved through prayer, and hold him at the center of your relationship. God is love and he is clear about its importance in relationships. "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs." (1 Corinthians 13:4-5)
Finally, when partners are not open and honest with each other, or there is a deafening quiet and lack of communication, mistrust and emotional distance start filling that vacuum. Good communication enhances mutual trust. The end result is reliance and confidence in each other, and feelings of security in a loving relationship.
In God's Words
"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." (Proverbs 15:1)
"If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other."
"My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry," (James 1:19)
In the Word's of Others
"Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing." Rollo May
"Any problem, big or small, within a family, always seems to start with bad communication. Someone isn't listening." Emma Thompson
In Your Words
Recall instances when your insistence that you were right caused friction in your relationship with a spouse or partner? How do you feel about it now?
Have there been times when your inability to forgive someone compromised open and honest communication with the person? If yes, recall the circumstances and what you could have done differently.
Reflect on 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 and how Paul's understanding of love can affect your relationship, especially when disagreements arise.