“Speak the truth in love.” Eph 4:15 NLT
Even in a great relationship, you will have disagreements. That’s why you need to learn to fight fair. Paul addresses it this way: “Speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ.” If you grew up in a home filled with tension and angry words, you may find yourself trying to avoid argument at any cost. But silence doesn’t solve problems, it just allows them to become unspoken wedges between you. What should you do? First, try to understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy conflict. In an unstable marriage, hostility is aimed at your partner’s soft underbelly with comments like, “You never do anything right!” and “Why did I marry you in the first place?” and “You’re getting more like your mother every day!” Such remarks strike at the very heart of your mate’s self-worth. Healthy conflict, by contrast, remains focused on the issues that cause disagreement. For example: “It upsets me when you don’t tell me you’re going to be late for dinner,” or “I was embarrassed when you made me look foolish at the party last night.” Can you hear the difference? Even though the two approaches may be equally contentious, the first assaults the dignity of your partner while the second addresses the source of conflict. When you learn to make this important distinction, you can work through your disagreements without wounding and insulting each other. Plus, when gaining the upper hand leaves your partner feeling wounded and upset, you both lose. Bottom line: When someone feels loved and valued, they’re generally more open and receptive to what you have to say.