The best relationships I have have not been the best because of how we handle our agreements, they are the best because of how we handle conflict. The healthiest relationships I have come with a healthy portion of conflict. Is someone truly your best friend if you shy away from confrontation? Can you truly care about someone if you constantly avoid a topic because you might disagree?
I'm not solely referring to the relationship I have with my wife (although it does come with a good amount of conflict), this also applies to friendships and business relationships. As we all know, conflict in any relationship is inevitable. So we can either lean into conflict and utilize it as a tool for progress, or we can avoid it. And without conflict, a relationship will stall, then falter, then diminish altogether.
By shying away from or completely avoiding conflict, you are essentially declaring, "I do not care if this relationship improves or grows."
The opposite is equally true: by leaning into conflict you are making a direct investment into the growth and health of that relationship. You are recognizing when a change needs to be made and creating opportunities to make that change.
Let me be clear, embracing conflict in a relationship is not the same as looking for a fight. Those who seek conflict as a tool for growth come with a true desire to seek change, not just raise their voice. Like most things, our intentions matter.
If you are in a stagnant or even failing relationship, a little more conflict might be just what you need.
Identify a conflict in a relationship that you've been avoiding. Set a reminder in your phone to have a healthy confrontation about that conflict sometime in the coming week.
Question What relationship in your life could be improved with the addition of healthy conflict?
“Never have a battle of wits with an unarmed person.” -Mark Twain