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Why Bother Learning From Conflict?

It is inevitable that wherever two or more people are gathered, there will be two different opinions. Sometimes our differences are benign, harmless, or even comical and nobody’s feathers  get ruffled. Other times, our contrasting beliefs collide and feelings of contention ensue. As discomforting as a disagreement may feel, there is something to be learned from them. 

    Please Tussle With Me 

Those years of growing up are what gives us our pre-cut pattern for relating to others when opposition arises. As much as I disliked my mother’s approach, it was her imago that I unconsciously adopted. When something riled her, you knew it. She did not mince words. Instead, she used them to cut others down, intimidating them with a barrage of verbiage. 

My husband, on the other hand, adopted his father’s way of dealing with differences of opinions. I call it the wait and see method. In other words, we’ll wait and see if the matter clears itself up. 

As a result, our different perspectives concerning how to deal with a conflict, add to the conflict. We both have our beliefs about how to solve the issue. I will strongly communicate an ultimatum, while my husband’s solution is to allow some wiggle room as well as time.  

The one thing we have in common is that we both want the issue resolved. Neither of us enjoy the distance that our differences create in the relationship.

Over our years together, we’ve both become a little more intelligent about how to keep the lines of communication open during our disagreements. 

First of all, knowing that I married a man who will not argue with me, I’ve given up expecting to have a good argument with him. Instead, I will approach the topic that we do not see eye to eye with in a manner that invites conversation. I will ask him a question such as, “What are your thoughts about…” 

Over the course of our marriage, my husband has found me to be trustworthy. The trust that I’ve earned with him causes him to take my questions seriously, giving me a well thought out answer. A civil conversation commences.

I’ve let go of coming to a resolution according to my timeline, let go of my demands, as well as my sometimes unrealistic expectations. My husband has committed himself to conversing with me until we reach a concession or we agree to disagree.  

When necessary, we are quick to own up to any thoughtless words we may have said and apologize sooner than later. As someone once said, “Humble pie is easier to eat when it’s warm.” 

Why bother learning from conflict? There will always be conflicts, clashes, collisions between people. Learning from them does not make them go away. But learning from them does make the next one a little less difficult. 

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