I have three wonderful teenage children, very intelligent & sometimes opinionated. And it’s not uncommon to have some very interesting & heated discussions at dinner time about all kinds of topics including politics, musical taste, movie preferences, Hollywood, current events, government policies, theological questions, historical events, recipes & a plethora of random topics. In addition to our wonderful kids, my husband & I have our own perspectives & opinions. So our dinner conversations can be both diverse & intense.
As I think about these conversations, it’s important to consider not only what is being said, but also the tone & context for these interactions. If we are going to maintain close relationships, disagreements are inevitable. Here are some helpful thoughts related to disagreements:
Seek to understand more than being understood
A sincere apology is helpful when there’s misunderstanding
If you’re trying to “win” an argument, appreciate that someone will lose & maybe that’s not a good goal
Respect is essential for constructive disagreement
Today, I was driving and having a God chat. We talked about some of my concerns and frustrations and I tried to not do all of the talking, but this is a tricky balance. Conversations that facilitate a deepening relationship go both ways – both parties listen and both talk, hopefully not at the same time. To get to know the other person in a relationship, we need to be present, attentive and available. In the same way, for the other person to get to know us, we need to be present, sincere and forthcoming.
We all have relationships where we play our cards really close to the vest – we don’t openly share about painful areas, hotspots or vulnerabilities. But if we are going to have a deepening relationship with God, then we need to put our cards on the table and equally listen, pay attention and value the feedback and input that God gives us, not only to solve problems but moreso for the purpose of connecting and attaching. God talk is a two-way street 🙂