Is every conversation you have with your family members perfectly calm, controlled and pleasant? Or does a steady temper rise from warm to heated to boiling tend to be a typical pattern in your interactions?
Married women: Ever had one of those conversations with your husband where you get heated, he gets heated and then … bang! It turns into a full-blown fight?
Moms: Ever had one of those conversations with your teenager where you start yelling, she or he gets mad and then … explosion! You’re both pulling your hair out and not one closer to a resolution?
It’s a common problem in many relationships; uncontrolled tempers lead to regretful words and hurtful scars. None of us want it. So, what can you do to put out the fire? Here’s one tip I’ve learned that might help you:
Pour a glass of water.
Here’s what I mean. When you feel like a conversation might get out of hand, go grab a full glass of water. Can you still talk and hold it without water splashing over the edges? It’s hard to do that when you’re angry. To protect yourself from flying off the handle and overreacting emotionally, encourage the other person to also hold a full glass of water as you speak to each other. Be aware that if the talking intensifies, your body will flinch. In order for no water to spill, you must command your body to remain steady and calm. This is good training when learning how to talk about subjects that are potentially full of conflict. If the water remains in the glass during the conversation, most likely your temper remained in control. If it spills out on to your hand, it will be a quick reminder to steady the fireworks.
A full glass of water is a great picture of what is inside us, too. Think about it! When someone or something jostles us, what’s in our hearts ends up spilling out. If we burst out in anger, resentment or bitterness, what does that say about what’s happening inside of us? If instead we show and speak words of forgiveness, we tend to treat the world’s “jostlings” with grace and mercy.
So, the next time confrontation strikes and you move to fill that glass of water, also take a moment to ask God to fill you with the cleansing, healing water of His Spirit. Just think, if you hold an entire conversation with a full glass of water, then you both can enjoy a nice drink together when you’re done.
Eph. 4:32 (NIV)
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Question: What is something you do to help resolve conflict? Leave a comment here.