Is it possible to avoid division and arguments and achieve unity in our familial relationships? Webster’s Dictionary defines unity as “the quality or state of not being multiple: oneness.”
The truth is, we’re all wired differently. We have different perspectives, needs, and personalities. We may not always see eye-to-eye or agree with everything regarding political or social issues. Still, we can do our part to diffuse arguments that lead to division in our most important relationships.
There is a difference between unity and uniformity. Uniformity is caused by pressure on the outside to conform to something or someone else’s opinions, beliefs, or preferences. However, unity takes on a different posture; it comes from within. It’s an issue of the heart.
What is the root cause of conflict and disharmony in relationships? Selfishness. What is the root problem of selfishness? Pride. Pride is when we put our wants, needs, desires, preferences, and opinions above others.
In short, our outlook determines our outcome. We have to change our perspective by changing the way we see, respond to, and treat one another.
How Do We Diffuse Arguments and Achieve Unity in Our Families?
- TAKE INVENTORY.
If we find ourselves arguing all the time with our spouse, kids, parents, co-workers, friends, etc., we may have to stop, look in the mirror, and ask ourselves, could I be the problem? Am I trying to control, manipulate, intimidate, or place guilt on my kids, spouse, parents, friends, or co-workers to bend toward what I want? I once heard someone say, “If Mike has a problem with Paul, Jane has a problem with Paul, Sue has a problem with Paul, David has a problem with Paul, and Nancy has a problem with Paul, then, most likely, ‘Paul’ is the problem.”
If we find ourselves feeling angry, frustrated, irritated, impatient, disappointed by others’ unfulfilled expectations, remember those are symptoms of a root problem. Those symptoms may be indicators that a shift in perspective may be needed. We may need to take inventory, look at ourselves in the mirror, and ask, “Am I the problem?” Instead of attempting to change others, we may need to stop and ask, “Do I need to change?” Until I get me right, I can’t get “we” right!
- SHIFT THE FOCUS FROM ME TO WE.
“We” is always greater than ME. Every relationship should have the goal of restoration, not resolution.
Resolution is our attempt to resolve every problem, which is impossible. However, restoration is all about reconciliation and re-establishing the relationship. The goal of reconciliation and re-establishing a relationship that has experienced conflict means I’m shifting the focus away from me to “we.” Because I value my spouse, child, or parent so much, I am taking the initiative to make the first move to be at peace with one another.
To achieve unity in our relationships, we have to remind ourselves that every relationship is about “give and take.” It’s about serving one another and putting others’ needs, concerns, and preferences before my own. The more we are willing to serve each other, the more peace and unity we will have in our relationships.
- DISAGREE WITHOUT BEING DISAGREEABLE.
I come from a family of four boys. My wife, Michelle, comes from a family of four girls. When we got married, we had no idea how different our perspectives, habits, and opinions were from each other regarding how we approached things. I thought leaving the toilet seat up was being considerate – but not according to Michelle. I was convinced that squeezing the toothpaste tube from the bottom and positioning the toilet paper to roll over was correct. I learned quickly that Michelle squeezes the toothpaste from the middle and sets the toilet paper to roll under. Guess who won? Neither of us! We reached the place of agreeing to disagree. When we can disagree without being disagreeable, it is a sign of self-control and a step toward maturity in our most important relationships. When this happens, our attitudes and actions toward each other will diffuse arguments and build bridges, rather than fences, in our most important relationships.