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I’ve been around a lot of conflict. Conflict seems to find me really easily.

Here’s my theory on it:

I’m strong-willed. I have strong opinions. I’m analytical. I’m smart. I am good at voicing what I think. I always have ideas. And I’m a go-getter.

I’m incredibly sure of myself. I’m confident, and a lot of immature folk don’t like that. Or they see it as pride (I do have issues with pride too. God’s still working with me on that).

I’m very straight-forward. I speak truthfully. I’m not an overly soft-spoken person. I’m gentle and loving and tenderhearted, but I say it like it is.

I don’t take guff from people. I don’t let people bully me. I see straight through manipulation. I’m not someone who can be controlled.

 

Here are some things I’ve learned:

My vice principal of the school I am working at was talking about conflict today (I was asking for some suggestions during my evaluation with her. I have a difficult time with some of my coworkers). She used the saying, “Death by a thousand cuts.” She said that’s what they call it in their school. You don’t want to die by a thousand little things people say that hurt your feelings. Don’t bury it, address it.

Something else I’ve learned: It’s not necessarily good to speak in the moment. I’m still trying to figure out the, “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger,” Bible verse. However, speaking in the heat of the moment seldom goes well. My suggestion? Vent to someone else trustworthy (AND someone who isn’t a gossiper). Let them help you work through it, and then go to the person who offended you (or hurt your feelings). Choose a time to talk with them when you’re well rested, not stressed, and have had time to cool down and process it mentally and emotionally.

Another thing I’ve learned: whittle it down to one thing. You may have a lot of things that have built up. But address one at a time. You don’t want them to feel confused or bombarded by things you’ve stored up for a while. Try to get to the root of the problem. What is it you’re REALLY upset about? And why are you upset about it? Maybe even write up bullet points. That may be a bit extreme, but then again, it might work. I’ve used it before and it’s really helped me.

And yet another thing I’ve learned: never, ever bury it. If you’re upset or unsettled about it, it’s because there’s something wrong going on. In relationships (dating ones), I felt the most upset when there was something real going on. I felt upset because there were things in the relationship that were flat out wrong (how they were treating me, the fact that they had other close gal friends in their life, the fact that they were being controlling. Stuff like that).

And if they don’t decide to take you seriously? If they choose to not change? Then you need to decide what to do. What I usually do is remove myself from their lives. If they’re hurting me in what they’re saying to me and how they’re treating me. And if they don’t care enough about you or your relationship to change, then that’s not very comforting. To me, that’s a pretty sure sign of selfishness.

Also, be sure to take into account their feelings and points. Be humble enough to take correction. You may have a big part in what is going on. And they may have things you’ve said or done that have hurt their feelings. Be willing to listen lovingly (TRULY listening. There’s a big difference between “hearing” and “listening”). Remember, you love this person.

How to make a relationship work: both people need to be loving, kind, selfless, understanding, willing to listen, etc. They need to be GODLY. They need to have grace for each other. Everyone will have bad days. Everyone will say things that they regret. Nobody will be perfect. You have to understand that if you’re going to have a healthy dating relationship, and a healthy marriage.

Attraction is great. Flirting is great. Physical attractiveness is awesome. Laughing and having fun together is epic. But all that will fail if folk don’t know how to have good, healthy conflict. Now, I don’t believe people should seek out conflict. I don’t feel that’s healthy. But people need to know what to do when conflict arises and needs to be addressed.

THAT is how I believe a relationship should run. That is my dream, and my hope.

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