When it comes to marriages, families and any relationship, one thing is pretty certain: conflict will arise at some point. Because relationships are about connection, it is essential that we learn the art of resolving conflict. Conflict creates distance, separation and strain on a relationship. On the flip side, resolved conflict creates closeness, connection and confidence that the relationship can persevere through challenges. Learning how to deal with conflict in a relationship is a vital skill for growing a healthy, vibrant relationship.
So how do you do it? How do you resolve conflict? Simply put…”Stay Confused!” Conflict often arises out of misunderstanding, miscommunication or simply when two people miss each other. If the goal of a relationship is connection, then we must remember to stay confused during moments of conflict so that we can work toward communication, understanding and, ultimately, connection.
I encourage people to stay confused during conflict because it results in questions. Additionally, it helps to limit defensive interactions. If you are confused, you have not made up your mind about the situation. You do not have a position you are trying to defend. Instead, you will seek the other person in conversation through asking questions. Throughout my life, whenever I find myself confused, my natural tendency is to ask questions. During conflict, asking questions and seeking the other person through a process of communication and sharing can help build interactions that naturally combat conflict and help bring the relationship through the issue being discussed.
So, the next time conflict emerges in your important relationship, don’t too quickly jump to a conclusion; instead stay confused and ask questions until the issue is addressed and connection is discovered. Staying confused can help you turn conflict into connection.
About the Author: Kurt Attaway is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapy Associate in Texas. Kurt graduated with his Master’s from UHCL. Kurt works in private practice at The Center for Couples and Families, and serves as the Director of the WholeFit Leadership Team.