We are created for relationship. All of us balance two conflicting drives-the desire for attachment, and the desire to avoid pain. We need to attach, bond and connect to be whole and content. But in relationships, problems occur- some of which are painful. What are we to do in this dilemma? How to experience relationship intimacy when closeness involves pain. Some of us use walls or defenses to avoid pain, and in doing so rob ourselves of relationships. When we get close to people we will experience community, giving, receiving, love and we will also experience problems.
A quality relationship is not a relationship without problems, it is a relationship that handles problems well. What comes naturally when conflict occurs is often damaging. Turn away from what comes naturally and learn about interactions that increase emotional intimacy. Responding well in conflict often requires a deliberate approach of intentionally managing the problems in healthy ways. Reciprocity occurs in bad conflict-the cycle feeds itself. Reciprocity also occurs in managing conflict well-the cycle feeds itself in the constructive direction.
Constructive Skills to Develop- Empathy, Humility, Dependability, Awareness, Responsibility.
- Empathy-I get out of myself and imagine what it is like from your perspective, whether or not I understand your view.
- Humility-I give up the need to be right. Yes, really give it up.
- Dependability-I am aware of my shortcoming, and follow-through with a determination to correct my words, and/or actions. Lining up what I do with what I say.
- Awareness-the ability to step back and see my immaturity, insecurity, “buttons.”
- Responsibility-It bothers me when I am aware of being wrong. This conscience is healthy as I have become more aware. Admit my faults, apologize and take action to bring about repair.
Learning these skills and practicing them helps us to manage our relationship conflicts in a nurturing, honest and mature way. Resolving conflict well increases relational intimacy. This is a characteristic of a quality relationship