It’s so crazy. I am the one who teaches on conflict and how to resolve it. I do this every day of the week! And yet when I am in conflict it is still hard even for me and brings a multitude of emotions. Here’s what I mean:
One day last week, my wife and one of my girls began to talk with me about something in me they didn’t understand and were frustrated about. We talked for almost an hour. I had all kinds of emotions. When they first brought it up, I felt kind of attacked–not hugely, but kinda.
Throughout the time, I knew their heart was to try to help me see some things differently, but it still felt like I was being judged.
At times I felt strong as I was giving my viewpoint and felt it had merit.
Other times I was feeling weak. I felt humiliated and shamed–when they were telling me their view point. How long have they felt this way I wondered. Have they been thinking poorly of me for a long time?
Then I felt angry…why are they so concerned? I thought, they are making it a far bigger deal than is really necessary.
At times I wanted to be defensive–and I was.
Time to refocus
Then I remembered what I teach on conflict resolving and how to use the process of PLEDGE. That was helpful, because it pulled me back in line again.
Remembering PLEDGE helped me to not just “go off” in my anger. It helped me to work hard at hearing what they had to say.
I didn’t really like hearing everything they had to say. I didn’t like sitting for 50 minutes to work through this either! As it turned out however, it was a good thing. I began to understood their thoughts and viewpoints. I think they also saw some things from my perspective.
I tell you all this for two reasons:
FIRST: because…the struggle is real… for all of us!
We all experience conflict to some degree or another in our relationships. Some people fight loud and hard. But not everyone. Others don’t deal with it at all–they go so far as to say they don’t have conflict. That’s actually called denial. We tend to deny pain and difficulty when we don’t know what to do with it.
SECOND: to show that knowing what to do when in the midst of conflict is VERY helpful!
To be honest, even for me it was hard. I didn’t always want to do the right thing–even though I knew the right thing to do!
The rest of the story
At some point during the following day, I realized I still wasn’t at peace. In fact, I found myself not really eager to be around my wife!
I learned long ago that our our feelings are like sensors going off warning us that something isn’t right and needs to be attended to. So I decided Zerrin and I probably needed to talk some more.
Crazy huh? It’s like why would I want to go back into the Lion’s Den?
Here’s why: because I know how and therefore am not overly afraid. Second, because I know from truth and experience the benefits from doing so!
As it turns out, I am so glad I did!
I learned even more about my wife. Much of what she was frustrated about was the direct result of me having failed to love her on another deeper level. When we both discovered that, she realized that the way she had spoken to me the night before came out of the hurt that I had caused her!
It was quite revealing for both of us.
Learning more about each other is what I find happens over and over again with my wife and I. In fact it is true for every one who uses PLEDGE, the step-by-step process we use to train couples to enhance their every day conversation and process all conflict, big or small, in a manner that is completely governed by love!
Our passion is to teach couples and families how to love each other well in every interaction, every conversation, and every experience of conflict.
You can get the basics of PLEDGE here!
Here’s to my wife who runs alongside me so well. And here’s to you as you work at learning how to love well!
What questions do you have on how to resolve conflict? I really want to know how I can help! You can leave a comment by clicking here.