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Rules for Resolving Conflicts – # 8 of 14 – Take Time to Understand

You show true love when you take the time to fully understand what your partner wants to tell you. Your main job in resolving the conflict is not to get your point across. Rather, it’s to be an expert on what your partner thinks and feels about the issue. You will really get to know your partner when you are primarily interested in what your partner is experiencing. How does one fully understand another?? That may be the hardest part of love, but perhaps the most important part. It begins with a sincere desire to want to know what your partner is going through, thinking, feeling, frustrated about, wanting to change. You don’t need to agree with your partner to understand. Too many of us, myself included, want to jump to the conclusion of the conversation before we’re even done with the introduction. Wouldn’t is be a lot less satisfying to read only the first and last pages of a great novel or watch the first three minutes of a movie. leave, and then come back to the theater for the last three minutes. We wouldn’t feel that we got our money’s worth. When we’re resolving issues, it’s what’s in between the introduction and the conclusion that is so interesting and important to know. That’s why we need to take the time to move together through the in between. We do that when we take time to 1) define the issue, 2) talk about why it’s important to both of us and our relationship, 3) share feelings we both have about it, 4) imagine some things that might make the situation better, and 5) come to some conclusions about next steps. In the whole process of taking time to understand, we are expressing true love, as much as a hug and a kiss sends the message, “I love you.” So take time to love each other by taking time to understand each other.

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