When two people choose to walk together in relationship, there is never a question of whether or not they will experience conflict. Believe me, they will. The question is whether they will know what is at stake when conflict happens. The “thing” at stake, if you are curious, is the health of the relational connection.
It is possible to end up on the other side of conflict as people who are more powerful, freer to be yourselves, more confident in your love for each other, and more hopeful about your ability to meet each other’s needs. This positive outcome is dependent, however, on what you choose to do. Will you allow conflict to tear your connection apart? Or will you fight for your connection in the midst of conflict
Commitments for building a conflict-resilient connection:
1. OUR FIRST GOAL IN A CONVERSATION IS TO UNDERSTAND ONE ANOTHER.
We are not bringing our list of wrongs, or the need to be right to the conversation. We simply want to understand the other perspective to begin the process of connection.
2. MY THOUGHTS, FEELING, AND NEEDS ARE VALUABLE AND IMPORTANT, AND SO ARE YOURS.
In any relationship, two people will never fully agree on everything. It is understood that we will have differences of opinions and feelings. Respecting and valuing those differences will allow us to protect our connection.
3. I DO NOT PARTICIPATE IN DISRESPECTFUL CONVERSATIONS.
When my thoughts, feelings, and needs are devalued in a conversation, I will stop the conversation and set a clear boundary. Until respect is restored, I will not participate.
4. WE NEED TO COMMUNICATE OUR TRUE FEELINGS AND NEEDS TO ESTABLISH TRUST AND INTIMACY.
Being vulnerable with how we actually feel when there is a potential for conflict can be scary. The only way to establish trust is to allow our true feelings to emerge and needs to be met.
5. IT’S MY JOB TO TELL YOU WHAT IS GOING ON INSIDE ME, AND YOUR JOB TO TELL ME WHAT’S GOING ON INSIDE YOU.
We do not have powers of telepathy or the right to assume we know one another’s motives, thoughts, feelings, or needs.