Conflict Resolution | 3 Steps to Implement Today- Video
by Wyatt Fisher, Psy.D.
Welcome to another edition of Relationship Hot Spot. I am Dr. Wyatt Fisher, owner of Christian Crush. Today we're talking about three ways to get out of conflict, and most people hate conflict, myself included. But, because it's inevitable in romantic relationships, you have to learn skills on how to get out of it successfully. Our flesh is evil. We're prone to drift, and therefore, when you're in close proximity with your partner, conflict is just a matter of time before it starts happening. So learning how to navigate your way out of it again is imperative.
1-Recognize What You're Doing
Three ways to help navigate yourself out of conflict. Number one is recognize what you're doing. When you're in a conflict, the most common pattern is you're looking at everything that you were doing that's right, and everything that your partner is doing that's wrong. So you're looking at where you're justified, where it's valid from your perspective and all the things that your partner is doing that is wrong, and where they're off base and where they're invalid for thinking the way they're thinking or doing what they're doing. When both people are doing that, you're going to get in an impasse very quickly. An impasse is where both partners feel stuck, both partners feel like the other person is not hearing their side and before long, it's going to escalate and people are going to implode or explode; one or the other and both are not healthy.
Not too long ago my wife and I were on vacation together in this beautiful island, and we're taking this amazing hike and out of nowhere, I found us and we found ourselves in a conflict. We're sitting there arguing and in this conflict and I remember thinking, "All I'm doing right now is looking at all the areas where I'm right, and all the ways that she's wrong." That's the first step, is recognize what you're doing. Recognize when you hit that impasse.
2-Focus On What You're Doing Wrong
Second, you want to confess where you are wrong. Again, this totally goes against your flesh. Your flesh wants to focus on where you're justified, but instead we got to do this Godly flip flop. We need to turn that on us back and look at all the ways that my flesh is getting in the way right now. Am I being defensive? Am I invalidating her? Am I just being argumentative? Am I being uncooperative? What are all the ways my flesh and my sinful nature are coming out right now in this argument? I need to identify it and then say it, and talk about what I'm doing. Just to say to her, "You know what? Right now, I'm being very defensive. I'm not looking at your point of view at all and I just want to win this argument at all cost. And I'm really sorry that I'm coming across like that." When you say something like that, it is a shocker to your partner and out of nowhere they're going to wonder where did this come from, because it feels like it's out of nowhere, and it's going to encourage them to do the same. So that's the second part is confess where you are wrong.
Now, a lot of people struggle with this because they don't really know where their sinful nature pops up for them. So maybe it may take some time to journal about this, to reflect and maybe get feedback from your partner, but before long you can start seeing patterns in yourself of where your sinful nature gets the best of you in conflicts. So again, you need to recognize it and then say it in the moment what you're doing.
3-Focus on What They're Doing Right
Third, look where they are right. It's so easy, again, to look at all the areas where they're wrong, so instead you have to intentionally focus on where can I give them the benefit of a doubt. Maybe I'm assuming the worst in them. Maybe their heart wasn't all the way in the wrong spot. Maybe part of the heart was innocent. Maybe part of the heart really meant for good. But I'm assuming the worst. Where can I give them some empathy and try to see it from where they're coming from? And then let me talk about that, because usually I'm not doing that at all in a conflict. I want to prove them wrong, and show how I'm right. But instead, let me really try to give them the benefit of a doubt, look for where they're right and where their heart was pure, and where it wasn't really their fault as much as I'm interpreting it as being their fault.
Again, so then you express that. When you do that, nine times out of ten if you catch it, focus on where you were wrong and focus on where they are right, if you do that, most likely they're going to follow suit. And before long you have this love fest. It goes from a hate fest to a love fest. And it can turn it around fast.
So my wife and I, we were on that hike I was telling you about. We were having this conflict. I recognized this impasse, and so I did these steps. I confessed all the things I was doing wrong, where my sinful nature was getting the best of me and then I talked about all the things that she was doing right. And lo and behold, she did the exact same back to me. She focused on the things she was doing wrong, looked at the things I was doing right and that paved the way to resolution. We went from arguing and having a conflict about this issue for about an hour and a half, to resolving it after this was done in about 15 minutes. It's just amazing how transformative this can be when you're in a conflict. So I encourage you to try it out and see how much it helps.
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