Conflict has the potential to destroy relationships, but it also has the potential to make them stronger. The result of conflict depends on whether or not we have unpacked the situation.
A conflict arises out of a disagreement or disconnect of some kind. Out of this disconnect, we develop offenses toward the person we are in conflict with. We start to tell ourselves stories about these people based on these offenses. These stories warp and distort our view of that person so much that we forget who they really are. We create a new false reality of that person in our minds based off of the lies we have believed about them. Before we know it, we are far away from having healthy interactions with this person. Each conversation, story, and interaction is tainted by offense and the wedge between us widens. This is what happens when we don't sort through conflict.
When we encounter conflict and take a step back to unpack what is really going on in the situation, relationships can grow stronger. This happens by identifying the disconnect, working through offenses, owning how we can grow through the conflict, remembering our true heart for the other person, and actively mending the relationship. Here are five questions you can ask to unpack conflict and grow stronger through it.
1. When and where did the disconnect between you start?
2. What offenses have you developed toward the other person since the disconnect happened?
3. What can you own in this situation? How can you grow through this?
4. What is your true heart for the other person?
5. What can you do to mend the relationship?