“Having your wounds kissed by someone who doesn’t see them as disasters in your soul, but cracks to put their love into, is the most calming thing in this world.” ― Emery Allen
Conflict is inevitable. But we can greatly influence the quality of conflict in our relationships. We can develop skills that help us transform conflict into a less destructive occurrence.
If done well, conflict can actually be a bonding activity.
My husband and I have been married for less than a year and in the months before our wedding, we attended 12 sessions of Marriage Preparation Counseling at Osage Creek.
We had plenty of conflict then and we still have plenty now… but, we fight so much smarter now than we did before thanks to the insights and tools from those sessions.
One of most invaluable aspects of attending those preparation sessions together was gaining a deeper understanding of each other and why we react to various situations the way we do.
We learned about each other’s “Soul Wound”.
Deep down inside, a very hurt part of my husband still believes the lie that he’s not important.
Deep down inside, a very hurt part of me still believes the lie that I’m not good enough.
In other words, a Soul Wound is a generalized “shame message” that tells us why we are unlovable, unwanted… rejected.
When both my husband and I have our Soul Wounds ‘triggered’ at the same time, that is what makes for a conflict.
On the surface of things, we fight about housework, finances, who’s going to cook dinner, how often to have sex, and all the little things that irritate us like pinpricks: him leaving his socks everywhere, me sleeping in, him forgetting to take out the trash, me not immediately throwing away used kleenex (I know… ew!).
Issues like that are precipitating events, but when we peel back the layers of the onion, we find that what we think is the issue is never really what’s going on. It’s that darn Soul Wound. Those surface layers of habits, preferences, and one-time mistakes ‘trigger’ up the deeper layer –the Soul Wound– and that’s what we’re really fighting about.
When we are truly attached to someone –a parent, our spouse, our dearest friend– losing that bond with them is of life-and-death importance. It’s not about How Could You XYZ?! –it’s about not being important, not being good enough, not being accepted and cherished and… safe.
So, my husband and I attend to these deeper, truer layers of the conflict first.
The calming effect of being truly seen, heard, and understood; of being comforted, reassured, and relieved is not to be underestimated.
When you counteract those Soul Wounds, when you say you are accepted, you are important, you are good enough, you are safe in my love… the fight isn’t so much a fight anymore.
Not only do you end up easily problem-solving the little surface issues of socks and kleenex, but you’ve truly invested in yourselves, in each other, in your relationship by virtue of connecting at a soul level, helping heal those Soul Wounds.
And that makes ‘fighting’ almost kind of awesome!
Do you know what your Soul Wound is? What the one, over-arching lie is that part of you still believes? Can you see how your Soul Wound gets triggered and creates conflict, how the ‘issue’ is never the real issue? Do you agree that it would be powerful for you in your relationships to be comforted, reassured, and relieved more? The next time you fight with someone very close to you, do you think it will help diffuse the conflict to understand that they’re scared and looking to hear from you that they are safe in your love? I dare you to try it!
Photo by Dragunsk Usf