Many people think of confrontation as though it will result in the picture above: 2 people facing off, anger exploding out of you, resulting in a broken relationship... in other words confrontation is BAD.
But is confrontation a bad thing? The truth is when there is cause for a confrontation, chances are your relationship is on its way to becoming broken IF you don't do something about it. The English word "confront" can be broken up into "con" which in Latin means "with", and "front" which literally relates to the "forehead" - the face; the front of the person. In its simplest form, a confrontation is simply communicating face-to-face with another person. It is placing an importance on the conversation, not brushing it off as a "by the way" thing, and connecting heart-to-heart with another person.
As I spoke about on Sunday, conflict often occurs because of UNMET EXPECTATIONS. I also spoke about how often that unmet expectation comes from the fact that the very thing you were expecting was not spoken out - it was a thought. A confrontation around unmet expectations can lead to better understanding between both parties, a healing over of hurts, and a plan to move forward. Here are some of my thoughts about how we can have healthy confrontations.
1. Choose a time wisely.
As mentioned already, a confrontation should never be a "by the way" style conversation topic. Why? Because it feels like a sneaky jab to the other person! It says, "I don't really want to talk about this, but I want you to know how I feel." It doesn't allow for a face to face moment to talk. So choose your time to bring this up. Preferably a time when you can talk things out and not be in a rush to go somewhere or do something else.
2. Affirm your commitment to the relationship if that is your intention.
Confrontation can be awkward because it can cause one or both parties to question the commitment to the relationship. Affirming your intention to continue on in the relationship can reduce that tension. It also gives you a base to talk about a plan to move forward.
3. Learn to express the unmet expectation verbally, and how it made you feel.
Clarity is so important in confrontation! If you are unable to put into words what your expectation was, how can you expect the other party to understand what it is you want? Don't beat around the bush, and don't try to tone it down. If you did not express that expectation before, apologize for that too! Let the person know that you are not necessarily blaming them for not knowing something you have not told them. Then also help them understand how that unmet expectation made you FEEL! Expressing your feelings help you find healing for them. It is not easy to express feelings, especially if you're like me. I don't think much about how I'm feeling. But I'm learning that it is healthy to acknowledge that I had a certain feeling, and to express it. Plus, if you are a married couple your spouse connects with you best when they know how you feel.
The Bible talks about the importance of mending relationships, of reconciliation.
Matt 5:23-24 - So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Let's learn how to do relationships better!