I’m reading a book by Steven K. Scott . I came upon a passage that I found particularly interesting:
That is a pretty profound statement.
We all encounter conflict on a regular basis. How we choose to deal with it will determine how deep our relationships can be. Perhaps it even determines how successful we will be in life as a whole.
Dr. Gary Smalley, a family counselor, president and founder of the Smalley Relationship Center and author of books on family relationships from a Christian perspective, teaches that conflict is the gateway to the deepest levels of communication and intimacy in a marriage or relationship. People who run away from conflict and avoid confrontation at all costs can unintentionally do more harm in their relationships than good. A marriage without conflict and confrontation will never achieve a deep level of intimacy. I’m guessing that may apply to all relationships.
I’ve had my share of conflicts and confrontations. I must admit, however, that I used to be the one who would avoid them at all costs. Learning to deal with conflict is something we as parents should be teaching our children to do as a necessary life-skill. This is not just a necessary skill to have, but a valuable tool, not just in a marriage, but in every area of life.
It’s true, however, that our natural inclination is to defend ourselves when conflict arises. If perhaps, we could just take a step back and look at the confrontation in a detached way if possible, then we may be able to respond in an adult manner instead of a knee-jerk reactionary sort of way.
I’m not going to lie, to respond instead of reacting takes a discipline that escapes most of us. It’s a lot of hard work. It takes a willingness to put someone else before your own personal desires and we simply don’t do that in this day and age. It’s all about ME, we are taught from very early on. Oh, not consciously; we love our kids and only want the best for them, but have we done them a disservice by focusing so much on letting them know how wonderful they are, and how they can do anything they want because they are heaven’s gift sent to bless the world?
I’m guilty as charged. I have shielded my kids from many a heartache. Have I somehow interfered with their mental and emotional development? Have I not allowed them to experience the many raw emotions that come with loss? Perhaps I will never know the answers to these questions. Perhaps it doesn’t really matter because we can only go from the point of where are.
I have digressed far from conflict, haven’t I? Or maybe not. Conflict is inevitable. We need to be actively pursuing healthy ways to deal with situations when they arise, and teaching our kids to do so as well, so we can all experience deep intimacy in our relationships and personal lives.