Conflict is defined as ‘a serious disagreement or argument’ so how on Earth can it bring two individual closer together? Most, if not all, couples that seek counseling are in conflict seeking a way towards resolution. The challenge with conflict is that each partner wants to be heard and understood. However, this cannot be done in conjunction with actively listening to your partner. Multi-tasking is a myth; hence it is imperative to slow down the dialogue and take turns to speak and listen. You cannot do both at the same time…this is an impossible task.
First, conflict is inevitable and exists because of differences. We are all uniquely created and have individual personality traits that most likely will not align completely with our partners. That is okay! Understanding and respecting the differences is a skill that must be learned and accepted.
Here are seven simple steps to obtain intimacy within conflict:
· Define the issue…pray to listen and seek understanding
· How important is the issue?
· Identify your contribution to the problem
· What is required: apology for forgiveness
· Choose to take radical responsibility
· Discuss what you both can do differently
· Pray about it, review it, and do it!
Questions following utilization of the seven steps:
1. How well has this solution worked?
2. Were there any surprises?
3. How could we improve it?
4. How did I change?
5. How did my partner change?
6. What did I learn about myself from this conflict?
7. What did I learn about our relationship?
8. What did I learn about my partner?
9. What did I learn about myself?
10. What did I learn about what I can do differently next time?
Understanding your partner’s position and explaining your own are important and necessary steps to improve emotional intimacy within your relationship. Take your time to complete the steps above and ask God for His grace, peace, wisdom, and guidance as you both work towards accepting your differences and compromising leaving you feeling happier and satisfied.