One sign of healthy conflict is conflict. The reality is that people disagree. Their expectations are different and each, in their time, are unmet. Conflict is engaging in a discussion about those differences to the affect of mutual understanding. Just because you are not talking about issues doesn’t mean your avoiding conflict. You’re just avoiding healthy conflict. Refusing to engage directly in conflict sparks things like gossip and depression. We fight the battles, but not on the proper battlefield. Healthy conflict does not shy away from itself.
5) Eager To Forgive
Forgiveness is the cousin of safety. If you’re on the same team with someone, you are looking to forgive. I’ve seen this time and again in our marriage. If I do something to hurt my wife, I can see her desperately wanting to forgive me. It’s in her eyes even when she is yelling at me. She loves me. She just needs to express herself, comprehend my perspective, and recalibrate to our vision. The opposite of this is an eagerness to destroy.
6) Honest And True
Healthy conflict doesn’t pull any punches. It is the whole truth, nothing but the truth. So help you. The only way we get to truth is through honesty. It sounds counterintuitive, but acknowledging our faults and expressing the imperfectly raw reality of our feelings helps bring us closer to mutual understanding. Plus, so much of conflict comes from our deep desire to be seen and heard. We don’t have to agree to resolve conflict. Unity is not conformity. Honesty is not always truth, but is a necessary step in the right direction.
Emotions are a tricky business. And our emotions are never higher than when in conflict. If done in the right way, we handle our emotions properly. We express them without worshipping them. We give them their due without giving them the reigns. Emotions have their place. They alert us of a need for conflict (because a value is being triggered and/or an expectation unmet). Once we acknowledge the alert, it is time to other resources.