“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;” Romans 12:10
Conflict is inevitable. In your relationships, it’s not a matter of if it will happen. It’s a matter of when it will happen. We don’t say that to be fatalistic. We say that because we are realistic. In life, marriage, and relationships – conflict is inevitable.
Choose your battles wisely. A wise person will ask, “Is this a hill worth dying on?” It’s not uncommon to have serious disputes over unimportant issues. Ask yourself, “Am I making a mountain out of a mole hill?”
Sometimes in conflict, it’s best to give preference to the other person. That is to say, the conflict is not a hill worth dying on. So, out of love and respect for the other person, just do it their way. If what they are asking of you is not illegal, immoral, unbiblical, or unethical, is it not possible for you to give preference to the other person?
If you are married, you and your spouse are allies. You’re on the same team. Your spouse is not your enemy. The enemy (Satan) is your enemy (1 Peter 5:8). Satan will attempt to confuse you to this fact. In the heat of an argument, he will tempt you to view your spouse as the enemy. Be careful not to fall prey to this temptation.
The goal of conflict is for the relationship to “win.” If in conflict you win and the other person loses – the relationship loses. If the other person wins and you lose, once again the relationship loses. Work towards a win-win situation.
If we’re honest, most of us are often concerned about being “right” in conflict. Our goal is usually to convince the other person that they are “wrong” and we are “right.” The question we then have to ask ourselves is this – “Am I more concerned about being right than I am about being in a right relationship with this person?” If you’re more concerned about being “right,” you may eventually “win” the argument, but rest assured the relationship will “lose.”
Consider these questions:
- In conflict, do you tend to give preference to the other person?
- If being right is important to you, why do you think that is?
- Can you recall a relationship that was hurt by your insistence on being right? If so, what did you learn from that experience?