How to fight so everybody wins
‘…speaking the truth in love, we will…grow up…’ Ephesians 4:15
There are two ways to tell the truth: the ‘give them a piece of your mind’ style, which only drives the wedge deeper, or the Bible way: ‘Speaking the truth in love,’ which resolves conflict and strengthens relationships. Suppose a couple is fighting because he’s habitually late. How can she speak ‘the truth in love’ and get her message heard? Here’s a five-step process that’s effective in marriage, friendship or work. She could say to him: 1) ‘I feel frustrated.’ No blame, no attack; just an honest expression of her own emotion. 2) ‘When you are late.’ No judging, name-calling or labeling; just a concrete description of his action. 3) ‘It seems to say to me that my time is not really important to you.’ No moralizing; just honestly sharing her feelings. 4) ‘Please try to be on time, or call and let me know when you’ll be here.’ Instead of focusing on past actions he can’t change, she’s telling him what she’d like him to do differently next time. 5) ‘Would you be willing to do that for me?’ No demanding or taking for granted; just asking for consideration and cooperation. When he agrees, they have a ‘contract.’ She thanks him sincerely and rewards every effort he makes to keep his word. She has effectively realigned the couple by making him her ally, not her enemy, and redefined the focus as a shared one, not something she ‘does to him!’ The Bible says we can ‘walk together’ when we have ‘agreed’ to do so (Amos 3:3 NIV).
Father God teach us to use wisdom when we speak the truth in love. Let us remember to take a step back before sharing our feelings about a situation and weigh the cost of our actions before we speak. In Jesus Name Amen.
PS: Thanks John