Originally published Tuesday, 02 October 2012.
This is the final part of our series on How To Handle Conflict Confidently.
Learn about the first three steps you can take here:
Now, let’s put the icing on the cake, for our fictional couple, Kelly and John.
And for us, too!
Kelly has reached a great place in her conflict with John over his use of what she feels should be family time. She has stepped back from her initial rush of adrenaline, and has chosen to respond from a place of calm.
Next, she has gotten her house – her heart – in order. She is looking to find the best in John, while not skirting the truth of how she perceives the situation. She also has a heart softened by humility and forgiveness. That comes more easily because she has prepared with prayer!
And now, the cherry on top.
She creates an environment of cooperation in response to their conflict.
When John returns from the very bike ride that initiated their Saturday morning tension, he senses something unexpected in his wife. A spirit of good cheer. Of optimism. Of “I’m excited to see how we work things out.”
This is the polar opposite of a defensive or offensive mate, looking to play judge and jury. (I know these roles, because I’ve been there too.)
Instead, John has returned to find a someone who is one his side. Someone who is looking to build the relationship, and helpfully attend to areas where there is wear and tear. Kelly is greeting him as a teammate who wants to move the ball down the field together, not as an opponent who is trying to knock him out of the game.
She says: “John, I love that you are looking to exercise more. I know this is a big lifestyle change, and I’m excited about your excitement. But, it brings with it a challenge. I’d love to see how we can solve this part of the puzzle together. The challenge is that the time needed for you to bike is offset by time needed at home for family. Both “sides” are important and worthwhile. What are your best ideas as to how we can begin to solve this? Here are some of mine so far.”
Kelly’s spirit of cooperation brings John’s defensiveness way down. He, too, softens. It isn’t that she wants to deflate his bike tires! Instead, she wants to support him. But she has also pointed out areas in which she needs support as well. He’s not being asked to “Fix a disaster.” Rather, his input and problem solving ideas are being sought, for the home team. Well, that’s pretty nice! He is in the game.
And so they get started.
I’m not promising that our lives will play out like this fictional scenario every time. But I think you get the point: a spirit of cooperation, and “we can work on it together,” is an key attitude to have and convey in a conflict situation.
To truly have this attitude, however, first depends on the state of your heart. And that’s where the previous steps – getting calm, being able to deeply connect through prayer, humility, and forgiveness – come into play.
There you have it: how to deal with conflict confidently! In a nutshell:
* Get Calm
* Connect (genuinely prepare your heart)
With these steps in mind, you can be better prepared for the challenges that all relationships bring.
May your conflicts bring you new opportunities to grow in wisdom, in gentleness, in humility, and in love!
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Dr. Ann is a M.D. who writes, speaks, and coaches. Her mission is to empower women in life and work! Coaching With Dr. Ann is syndicated on Crosswalk.com, and has been featured on BlogHer.com, MichaelHyatt.com, Fox news, and Good Morning America.
Copyright Dr. Ann 2012
(photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net/bplanet)