Relational Conflict

Love and the Outcome

It made the top headlines. A teenage girl encouraged her friend to commit suicide. Records say she had over a thousand texts to intervene, and who knows how many more phone calls and conversations. He said he was scared and didn’t want to leave his family. Even got out of the truck before the carbon monoxide took over. But she urged him to get back in. And now she’s been called before a court of law—responsible, in part, for his death.

I wonder what the outcome would have been had she chosen to be part of the solution, rather than the problem—had she chosen to intervene, for the good. And though I can’t imagine influencing someone’s suicide attempt, I can’t help but ask how my silence in certain situations has contributed to a tragic outcome. Had I intervened—would the outcome have been different? Though I may never know, at least I’d have the peace of knowing I tried.

When it comes to something like suicide, I think we’d all agree on the importance of getting involved on behalf of a friend. But in other areas—those with less immediate consequences, we often stand quietly by, watching and wondering if things would be different if we’d just speak up. Our society is built on a faulty notion of a love that doesn’t intervene. We mistakenly believe that if someone is happy doing something—however self-destructive, the loving thing to do is to keep quiet. We fear being considered narrow-minded, even hateful, for saying something that could help.

Maybe there’s constant news of shootings and mass murders and other violence because no one was loving ENOUGH to say something when it needed to be said. If we had spoken truthfully, in love, when we saw a hint of a problem—or just had that gut feeling that something wasn’t right…maybe things would be different.

When I was a teen, I flushed a loved one’s liquor down the toilet because I saw its potential to destroy them. My actions wreaked havoc, initially. But in the end, it was a wake-up call that helped contribute to the ending of a potentially destructive addiction. It’s a decision I don’t regret, no matter how hard it was at the time. As mentioned in a past blog post, we may be misunderstood in the process. But that should never stop us from intervening for the good of those we love.

Source: Love and the Outcome

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The Day I Exploded

What happens in one moment can affect a lifetime, and too often hurtful things are said and done in those moments that we wish we could take back. But what is done beyond those moments is equally important. What will we model through how we respond when conflict does arise (as it will in every relationship)? Will we say we’re sorry when we’re wrong? And will we forgive those who wronged us? Those examples will outlast everything else.

Source: The Day I Exploded

Beautiful Noise

Caution Signs from Bing Images There are few sounds I love more than the sound…of silence. While some might get restless in a quiet house, I get inspired. It means there will be time to think and write, and maybe even rest. Solitude is one of my closest friends.

As much as I love quiet, I don’t get a lot of it. It’s tough to come by in a house with two high-energy kids, a persistent cat, and a dog who barks at everything that passes by our front door (even if it’s a leaf). Last year for my birthday, I asked for a half-day locked in the bedroom—alone with my computer and a mind full of uninterrupted ideas. But even the closed door and droning fan couldn’t drown out the noise beyond.

It wasn’t long before my solitude was invaded by something not-so-peaceful. The kids played on and squealed in ear-piercing decibels, blissfully unaware there was a momster of a storm brewing on the other side of the door. Before the storm could erupt to full-blown chaos, something stopped me. A still, small voice whispering. “Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.”

I reluctantly unplugged the fan that had drowned out a fraction of the noise, and listened. What I heard calmed the storm within. It was the sound of life and joy and fun and innocence. All too soon, those little noise-makers will be grown and my house will be quiet once again.

Be slow to anger. Listen. That gentle reminder helped me to hear the beautiful noise surrounding me. In the midst of that noise, there is peace. And I wouldn’t have found it had I been quick to anger.

True Love…is SLOW to ANGER (Day 32, #50ShadesOfTrueLove)

The Day I Exploded

Erupting Volcano from Bing Images Have you ever said something you regret? Something that maybe needed to be said but came out at the wrong time in the wrong way? Believe me, I’ve been there a few too many times.

I’m one of those who likes to avoid conflict at all costs. If necessary, I prefer a peaceful confrontation with a peaceful outcome. It takes time, figuring out the perfect way and time to say what needs to be said, and by then its usually too late. Problem is, when I wait too long, it comes out all wrong.

This happened a few weeks ago with some people I really love. Something happened that brought long-buried issues to surface, and…BAM! It needed to be said, but it didn’t exactly come out in calm, peaceful, eloquent way I would have wanted it to. The entire conflict lasted a short time, but it doesn’t change the fact that I didn’t handle it the right way.

In the midst of it, I learned that all loving relationships endure conflict at one time or another. The important thing is to take responsibility for our part. If we truly love each other, we’ll care enough to humble ourselves and admit where we were wrong. Here’s an excerpt from a letter I sent out to those involved, after taking responsibility for my part in the conflict…

What happens in one moment can affect a lifetime, and too often hurtful things are said and done in those moments that we wish we could take back. But what is done beyond those moments is equally important. What will we model through how we respond when conflict does arise (as it will in every relationship)? Will we say we’re sorry when we’re wrong? And will we forgive those who wronged us? Those examples will outlast everything else.
 
Since we can’t rewind tonight and start over, we have only a couple choices—to let this break our relationship or build it. How we respond in the long run will affect us more than tonight ever will. Again and again, I’m sorry for responding in the wrong way. I love you and value my relationship with you, and hope that one bad moment won’t destroy the countless good moments we’ve had together.

In an ideal world, we’d have no conflict. But we live in a broken world where conflict is unavoidable. It’s how we deal with it that matters. As for me, it’s humbling to admit there are times when I explode and have to pick up the pieces. But I’d rather take responsibility than pretend it never happened. I believe that storms can strengthen our relationships, if we respond in humility and love. If we care enough to rebuild what was broken, we may come out stronger than before.

True Love…TAKES RESPONSIBILITY (Day 21, #50ShadesOfTrueLove)