Communicating in Conflict
Passing through the flames of conflict in a healthy, productive way can strengthen a relational connection. It is possible to end up on the other side of conflict as more powerful individuals, 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?
Building a Conflict-Resistant Connection uses these core values and guidelines of healthy communication:
- Our first goal in a conversation is to understand one another.
- My thoughts, feelings, and needs are valuable and important, and so are yours.
- 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.
- We need to communicate our true feelings and needs to establish trust and intimacy.
- It is 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.
- The best way to communicate my feelings and needs to you is to use “I messages” and clear, specific statements that show what I am feeling and experiencing.
- I will not expect you to know my feelings and needs unless I have communicated them to you.
- I will not make judgment statements or tell you how you must change in order to meet my needs.
- When you communicate your needs to me, it is my job to listen well so I can understand what you need, how my life is affecting you, and what I can do to meet your needs.
- I am committed to protecting and nurturing our connection. I will do what I need to do in order to keep moving toward you-no matter what.
- It is my job to manage my heart so that I can respond to you in love and cast out fear in our relationship.
From Keep Your Love On, by Danny Silk