We live in a society that seems to love drama. Have you noticed? People will pick sides and then fight about any issue with people who don’t agree with them. We’ve all seen plenty of people yelling and screaming at each other because they don’t agree about something. Often, it’s online or in text format, but we also see it on the news. We see it play out in person too. We seem to be hardwired to find people who think like we do and to be against the people who don’t think like us, even more than we’re for our own side.
And as much as we see that playing out across society on a larger scale, it can get into each of our lives too. Anybody can hide behind a screen and say all kinds of things that attack another person and their beliefs. If you don’t believe me, just scroll down and read some of the comments on an online article. But don’t read them for too long because it’s disheartening!
If we’re not careful, this societal trend of escalating disagreements and conflicts can become a habit in our daily lives. I want to challenge each of us to make sure that in our lives and marriages, we don’t escalate things. When you’re texting with somebody, don’t take it to a new level. Try to alleviate or de-escalate the situation. Try to say, “This conversation isn’t going the way that either of us want it to.” And then work to figure out how to get on the same page or agree to disagree. But don’t escalate it and allow a disagreement or misunderstanding to turn into conflict and drama.
When we escalate, it’s all but guaranteed to make things worse. And it’s easy to escalate when emotions are involved or we misunderstand somebody and assume their intentions in a specific situation. Those are all good warning signs for us to understand that we will probably find it easier than usual to escalate things, and to justify our escalation to ourselves and others. Instead, in those moments, we need to take a step back so we can clarify what was said and work to understand things from the other person’s perspective. This takes more work, but it’s one of the best ways to avoid drama in our interactions with other people.
And, oddly enough, this is especially hard to do in conversation with our loved ones. Because we have much more of a history with them and know their weak points and they know ours, having difficult conversations with our families is more likely to escalate than our conversations with co-workers or neighbors. In addition to those reasons, we also feel like we have “permission” to lose our temper with our families because we know they love us and are very likely to forgive us. Instead of treating the people who love us most worse than we treat other people, let’s make sure to practice de-escalation in our intimate relationships first!
It will definitely take work, but as we grow and stop letting our emotions run the show, we will see immediate positive results in our relationships. When we grow as people and get healthier, we don’t attack. Instead, we share, grow, and benefit from listening and learning. When we do that in our relationships with our spouses and families, we’ll be winning more often at home.