Handling conflict respectfully can be a tedious task especially if you already struggle with disrespectfulness. In times of conflict with your spouse your emotions are already on high and you may have a tendency to through caution to the wind and just “let ‘er rip.” I promise you this approach will do way more harm in the long run than making the effort to handle conflict in a respectful way. When I was first learning ways to handle conflict, stillness was one technique that I found a little easier to employ than some of the others. Stillness just involves getting quiet and letting your emotions calm down before you begin to speak. This doesn’t mean that you isolate yourself or just walk away and never do the work needed to resolve the conflict. It just means that you give yourself and your spouse time to let your emotions subside and your brain time to process through the issue. Stillness doesn’t mean you are doing nothing. Rather you spend the time clearing your thoughts and seeking God on what the truth is in the situation. Often times, I find that as I look at the situation and try to identify what the true cause of the conflict is, I realize that I have made much of something that may be less significant than I am making at the time. I also find that often times I am allowing a former area of conflict to resurface and bring additional hurt and pain to this situation. While using stillness, I can more clearly consider other possible mitigating circumstances that would cause my spouse to respond in a way that could cause this conflict. This will also give me the opportunity to respond with a gentle answer rather than saying something harsh because my emotions are screaming so loudly. Proverbs 15:1 says “A gentle answer turns away rage, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Using stillness in conflict resolution will commonly cause you to see the entire situation in a different light. Respectful conflict resolution will almost always be positively impacted by a few moments of stillness.
I encourage you today, have a discussion with your spouse about conflict resolution and the use of a time of stillness during conflict. Discuss ways that you can respectfully request a few minutes of stillness to calm yourself, pray, and seek a new perspective that may help you resolve the conflict in a way that will bring healing and peace. This little technique when used can be the beginning of a lot less conflict and a lot more unity. There is nothing so valuable in a relationship than peace and unity. So start today, employ stillness and watch what happens. I promise you will be glad you did.