So maybe love is a strong word in this case, but healthy people embrace it. Can we all agree that passive aggressive behavior is universally despised, but if we’re being honest with ourselves…we all do it at some point in our lives.
What Was Modeled To You?
Many people I’ve talked to grew up in a non-confrontational family. When they would have issues with one another, they stayed mad and didn’t address them. Sometimes even going as far as avoiding the offending parties until the feelings subsided. Eventually, time would pass and they would slowly go back on speaking terms with the other person again, but never fully resolving the issue. And it wasn’t just immediate family members…this included relatives, too.
Sound like your family?
From talking to many people, I’ve learned that most families operate in that way and it’s actually harder to find people/families that know how to have healthy confrontations.
But Why Can’t I Just Stuff My Feelings Away???
One of the best sermons on confrontation was by Pastor Craig Groeschel in which he said explained in the Beatitudes…specifically Matthew 5:9.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
He pointed out specifically that there is a distinct difference from peacemakers and peacekeepers.
Peacekeepers are those who “don’t rock the boat” in an effort to keep the peace. Avoiding confrontation as it’s easier to keep quiet and appease other parties. We know that the problem with emotional suppression is that it leads to stress, resentment, and (our favorite) passive aggressiveness! Peacekeeping also forces you to be fake. You put on a smile in front of that person, but deep down you may want to slap them across the face. Those are not good, Christian thoughts to have 😉
Peacemakers are those who embrace conflict to resolve the issue. These are the people who recognize a problem and then carefully plan a strategy to address the issue and resolve it. (I could write a whole blog on good ways to approach a problem). Relationships that have been through the “peacemaking” process are strengthened, deepened, and it naturally creates a more authentic relationship. Pretty sure that’s what we all want.
So….Which one are you?
Breaking a Pattern
If you read the above portion and identified yourself as a “peacekeeper” then good news, there are ways to overcome it!
Tommy and I recognized in our relationship with one another that we were both peacekeepers in some regard. It made for a pretty turbulent engagement when two people who didn’t have the tools to healthily resolve conflict fell in love. It’s been such a molding process over these last 10 years and so here are a few tips that have helped keep us as “peacemakers”.
Create An Open Door Policy– We’ve established an “open door policy” with some close relationships where we’ve told them “Hey, if we offend you then please come to us and vice versa.” In any friendship or family relationship, I promise that you will offend each other. It’s better to lay out the expectation now with a mutual goal of reconciliation.
Find a Model Couple- We have couples with more marriage experience that we hold ourselves and our marriage accountable to specifically in this area. We give them full permission to ask us the hard questions about how we’re maintaining a healthy relationship among ourselves and others. In essence, they help us “guard our hearts” (Prov. 3:5)
Know Your Audience– When it comes to resolving an issue, know who you’re approaching and what methods would likely work well. For some people, they prefer an email/letter so they can read and process, for others it could be verbal communication. Other factors such as timing and prefacing the “meeting” may be necessary to ensure a productive conversation. The line “Can we talk later?” is a good starter.
So the choice is yours…do you want to be a peacemaker or peacekeeper?