ConflictRelationships are built and maintained through communication. When communication breaks down, so do relationships. Consider the quality and nature of the conversation in your relationships. It creates an atmosphere.

Eph. 4:29. Do not let unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Prov.18:21. The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

James 1:19. My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.

Poor listening habits include: inattentiveness, interrupting and advice giving. Ask questions then give focus and attention to listen for meaning and understanding.

Problems or crisis confront every family and no one enjoys them, but strong families are able to respond to the problem in a constructive way – to see some positive element in even the most difficult situations. Problems cause strong families to pull together rather than be pulled apart, as they develop trust and a greater reliance on each other. If we don't fix our problems, we take them with us and they become bigger.

Anger is what gets us in trouble. Pride is what keeps us there and creates barriers. You will get angry or upset. But learn to handle it right. Don't use it as a weapon and don't hold on to it. Admit it when you’re wrong. Take the initiative to resolve conflicts even if you're right. Take the first step. Forgive one another.

During communication, learn to say "I think" and "I feel" rather than "You always." This creates empathy and understanding. Observe other family member's non-verbal behavior and seek to clarify. Also, observe process and content.

Learn to speak the "truth in love" (Eph.3:15). We can confront without hurting. We must not hang on to our anger and hurt. We need to take responsibility for our feelings. Share your feelings and thoughts honestly and openly. Always seek to maintain the relationship. Remember the goals of loving confrontation should always be a better understanding, a positive change and a growing relationship. Have the courage and the consideration to learn to confront lovingly.

Avoid the extremes of being overly assertive (aggressive) and under-assertive.

Eph 4:26-32. "In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold … Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." 

For other related BLOG posts, see: Conflict, Tough Love, The Art of Apology, and The Art of Forgiveness.