Communicating In Conflict
Written by Lucas Pospychala
When two people choose to walk together in relationship, there is never a question of whether or not they will experience conflict. The question is whether they will know what is at stake when conflict happens. The “thing” at stake is the relationship itself.
Conflict is to a relationship what disease or injury is to a body. As with physical health, the goal in a relationship should be to prevent as much conflict as possible. However, in the same way that fighting off a disease or doing therapy after an injury can strengthen your body, getting through conflict in a healthy, productive way can strengthen a relational connection. This outcome is dependent on what you choose to do. Will you allow conflict to tear your connection apart? Or will you fight for your connection in the midst of conflict?
In order to prevent conflict from happening in relationships, guidelines should be set that encourage healthy communication:
· The first goal in a conversation is to understand one another.
· Have a mindset that your thoughts, feelings, and needs are valuable and important, and so are your partners.
· Communicate your true feelings and needs to establish trust and intimacy.
· It is your job to tell your partner what is going on inside your mind, and their job to reciprocate the same effort.
· The best way to communicate one’s feelings and needs is by using “I messages.” As well as providing clear specific statements that show what you may be feeling and experiencing.
· Using “I messages” means that you begin statements with “I,” and make them about yourself and what you are feeling. Doing this encourages truthfulness, is less accusatory, and helps the other person understand your point of view rather than feel attacked.
Respond to criticism with empathy
When someone comes at you with criticism, it’s easy to feel that they’re wrong and get defensive. While criticism is hard to hear, it’s important to listen to the other person’s pain and respond with empathy for their feelings.
Own What’s Yours
Realize that personal responsibility is a strength, not a weakness. Effective communication involves admitting when you’re wrong. If you both share some responsibility in a conflict, admit to your mistakes in order to diffuse the situation quickly.
Try to see their point of view
In a conflict, most people want to immediately feel heard and understood, but too much focus on our own desire to be understood above all else can backfire. Try to really see the other side, and then you can better explain yours. Others will more likely be willing to listen if they feel heard.
Look for Compromise
Instead of trying to “win” the argument, look for solutions that meet everybody’s needs. Healthy communication involves finding a resolution that both sides can be happy with.
Have any further questions on how to communicate during conflict? We would love to hear from you at Flaming Heart Ministries. Visit our website or click on the link below to learn more.