It seems that relationships in our lives either make us sad or happy. Sometimes it’s romantic relationships, mother son relationships, brother sister relationship, or professional relationships. No matter where we are in life, we all would say that we want to see lasting growth in our relationships.
As much as we would love to see that growth, many of us do not. Every relationship has problems, and we either grow together or grow apart. Throughout our lives, we have opportunities to become closer to the ones we love and even those we don’t. One of these opportunities is thedisagreements that we have. Arguments can be a source of growth if handled with care.
Pattern One: (This argument pattern is most seen in couples)
This is where the basic relationship problems begin. You and your wife are cleaning the garage together. She starts throwing something away that you’ve told her at least 10 times that you want to keep. Something in you begins to get irritated. It’s that something in us that just begins to gnaw at us or annoy us. You begin to express yourself and let your opinion known.
There is a fine line between expressing how you feel, and letting those feelings turn to anger. At this point in the disagreement, if you say one more thing you know your going to lose it. You’re not thinking as you raise your voice to tell her that you don’t want to throw something away. She should know, you’ve told her you love those things. Most people know this feeling, they don’t like the feeling, but it comes out anyways.
Questions start to fly. “How would you like it if someone threw your stuff away?” “Do you ever think of others when you make decisions?” “Would you do that if it was so and so’s stuff?” Generally, this kind of interrogation is a justification. You want to be right, and so you ask questions that will build you up and make you look better.
What started to be a disagreement, turned into anger, turned into interrogation, has now become confrontational. The big guns come out now. This is where past incidents come up that we’ve not talked about before. Things like, “You always throw my stuff away!” “You’re always throwing my food away before I’m done!” Generally these accusations are small and petty, but are always designed to make us feel like we are in the right.
This is where most disagreements end. We become confrontational and walk away. There is no resolution. If things end here, we will see death in our relationships. But if we are wise, we will not stop at the confrontational stage. Let’s look at something that will bring growth to our relationships.
A Better Pattern
Find a Solution
Ideally you can come to this step before it get’s to confrontation. In order for this to happen, all emotion needs to be taken out. If we keep our emotion intact, our voices will begin to rise again. At this point in the conversation, we need to find a solution that will benefit both parties. Something like, “Dear, maybe I could go through all my personal stuff, and you could work over here.” It’s important that this part be done in a loving way.
This is the hardest part. Forgiving someone means humbling ourselves. This part is really hard, because we are the one’s who are usually wronged. To forgive someone does not mean you excuse what they did. In this scenario, it means say, “I’m sorry I yelled at you. Will you forgive me?” It simply means that you don’t hold it against them. It means letting go and letting the grace of God to rule in your heart. Sometimes it means forgiving yourself. But this step also means living.
At last, we can now move forward. If we have another argument, which we probably will, we won’t bring up the past again. We have a fresh slate.
Who do you need to forgive? What do you need to let go of so that you don’t have to be in an unhappy relationship? Where do you need to start using the “Better Pattern” in order to start living again? Arguments can be small or large. They can be short or lasting effects. But if you use a better patter…that of forgiveness…you will have life!
Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. -2nd Chronicles 7:14
Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. – Matt 6:12 (NIV)