If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. - Rom 12:18
God desires us to live in peace with all those around us. Being in a relationship means that you will have disagreements because we’re all unique. It’s not “if conflict arises” but “when conflict arises”. It’s okay to have disagreements. In fact, it’s healthy to have disagreements because it means that no one is pretending or holding back their opinions. The question is what should you do when conflict arises? How can you maintain the peace?
1. Consider the Value of the Relationship
The first question to ask yourself is: “How valuable is this person to me?” If you’ve chosen to be in a committed relationship with someone then it means you probably value that person. It means you’ll be willing to compromise on certain things to make it work. Obviously, there are things that you shouldn’t compromise on which are usually tied to your core values. Besides those core values you should be flexible to accommodate changes for the sake of this person. For instance, one person likes spicy food but the other doesn’t. A good compromise will be to cook food without pepper and have anyone add pepper separately when eating. If you realize that this person isn’t that valuable to you then you won’t be willing to do what it takes to maintain peace. That means you’re not with the right person and you should consider ending the relationship.
2. Keep Talking
To maintain peace, you must put your pride aside and talk. Sometimes it means having to say “I’m sorry” even when you were wronged. Initiate the process of resolution. It could just be through an act of service or kindness to show this person that you value them. Psychologists call that “bids for connection”. For instance: “Here’s today’s paper”, while handing over the paper to your partner. Be open to receiving those attempts to connect from your partner and respond accordingly. As long as two people are willing to talk and listen to each other they’ll have a higher chance of a peaceful resolution.
3. Be Transparent
Without transparency you can’t expect to have a peaceful relationship. If you have a hidden agenda or a manipulative scheme it will be impossible to keep the peace. Be open and honest with your partner when conflict arises to ease the resolution. Don’t sulk, talk. Your partner can’t read your mind. If you hold back how you truly feel about something it will only make things worse in future. You’re better off expressing your feelings in the present.
4. Get to the Root of the Issue
Sometimes when two people are in conflict they’re talking about surface matters when there’s an underlying issue. You need to go deeper and figure out what’s the cause. It’s often rooted in some insecurity from one or both parties. For instance: “Why didn’t you dry that towel? You never listen to me!”, says a wife to her husband. The husband now confused about her harsh reaction says: “It’s just a towel, what’s the deal?” Looking at it closely, it’s not just about the towel. The underlying problem is that she doesn’t feel heard, and it has been going on for a while without her expressing it. Now her husband sees the immediate thing he did as if it’s the problem when it’s not. When in conflict, always communicate honestly and go deeper to solve the root issue.
While it’s impossible to avoid conflict, using the above strategies, it’s possible to maintain a peaceful relationship. In all comes down to how much the person means to you. Are there any other strategies you use to keep the peace? Please let us know in the comments. We hope you were enriched by this piece. Just as you were blessed, be a blessing by sharing with others. If you need help with your relationship, join our special coaching program by signing up for a FREE session. Thank you for reading and see you in the next one.