Shawnda Muir
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Good day... As part of the Marriage, Family and Life ministry, I periodically post good articles I come across. This one is from Gary Chapman on the topic of disagreements and conflit. I hope you enjoy.

When Karolyn and I were dating, it never crossed my mind that we would have major disagreements. We seemed so compatible. I was willing to do whatever she desired, and she seemed to be willing to follow my suggestions. That was one of the things that attracted me to her. To think that we would end up arguing with each other never occurred to me.

However, starting on the honeymoon and continuing for the first few years of our marriage, we found ourselves embroiled in conflicts. I could not imagine how illogical she was, and she could not imagine how I could be so harsh and demanding. It was not that I wanted to be harsh; it's just that I knew my idea was the best idea. Of course, she felt the same way about her ideas.

Trying to change another person is likely to fail. It's not only frustrating, but it can be incredibly exhausting. If we force an issue long enough, we may be able to enforce change on someone, but it will never change their heart. It's much better to focus our energy on something we have more control of: changing ourselves.

When you change yourself, you fundamentally change your relationship.

Here are three questions to help you focus on changing yourself:

·        What is more important to me: the relationship or my way of doing or seeing things?

·        Are my responses and reactions creating a healthy, positive atmosphere for effective communication and negotiation?

·        If the other party never changes, what can I do to alleviate my frustration over our differences?

Whenever two individuals come into relationship, conflict will inevitably happen. This is because each person comes with a set of different desires, likes and dislikes, worldviews, habits, and ways of doing things. It's only when we learn to respect each other—communicating our desires and differences in an honoring way—that we begin to change our relationship for the better, rather than simply trying to force change on another.

Warmly, Dr. Gary Chapman

Author of The 5 Love Languages®

Discover your love language at 5lovelanguages.com

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