Disagreements exist as a reality of any relationship – it is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, relationships with no apparent conflict may be unhealthier than those with frequent arguments.
I wish I was taught this when I was young. Instead, I went the majority of my life thinking everyone should like me and if I got into an argument with a friend or a significant other that was challenging then that meant I should just move on.
Bottom line: Conflicts in our relationships have the potential to weaken or strengthen us.
We have the opportunity to create a deeper understanding, closeness and respect for the other person – or very well have the prospect of causing destructive behavior, resentment, or hostility.
In fact, the intensity of the conflict demonstrates the closeness and importance of our relationship. Think about it, if you didn’t care about the other person or your relationship – you wouldn’t care what they did or said.
Whether it is family members, your spouse, children or life long friends – conflict ultimately holds the key to who we are as a person and the opportunity to make constructive changes to yourself – learning more about compassion and forgiveness.
Positives that Result from Conflict:
Assists in establishing our identity & independence. When we experience conflict in relationships, especially at earlier stages of our life, it helps us assert who we are and separate our beliefs and goals from those around us.
We have the opportunity to accept others (and ourself) for who they are instead of making them be someone who they aren't.
Helps demonstrate the importance and closeness of a relationship. While the intensity of emotions in an intimate relationship can be grueling and demanding if they are not dealt with constructively – they help us measure the importance and depth of our relationships.
If you are terribly upset and hurt by someone, before making wounding comments from which you can never take back - think about how important the person is and, ultimately, how much you love them.
Can build new relationships. From time to time, conflict may bring together people who may have not had a relationship prior to the disagreement. Think about it – when you experience struggle within a relationship, occasionally we reach out to people in our lives that we never think about much. We ask for their opinion or help – this reaching out plants seeds of friendship and closeness.
Helps us sustain our relationships. If we consistantly repress disagreements and negative emotions continue to grow within us without release, we risk blowing up over something minute and infinitesimal. Exchange of conflict allows people to reduce tension in a relationship.
All and all – conflict is a normal part of our healthy relationships. We can’t expect to get along and agree on everything at all times. That is an impossible undertaking and we would be setting ourselves up for failure in our marriage and our relationships.
Instead, treat your conflict as a divine signal in your life that holds the opportunity to become better and to love better.