Relational Healing – Six Steps to Reconciliation
By Greg Hanson
Whether you are dealing with a spouse, a friend, or a coworker, relational conflicts are inevitable. Misunderstandings, words spoken in anger, and inconsiderate actions can cause damage to relationships. Sometimes the wrongs are real, and other times they are merely perceived. Either way, the wounds are genuine.
So when a relationship has been damaged, how can you make it right? Is reconciliation even possible? If you want to create the best chance for your broken relationship to be mended, follow this six-step strategy.
1. Take the initiative.
Regardless of who has caused the damage in the relationship, take it upon yourself to make it right. Whether they have wronged you or you have wronged them, take the initiative. Do not wait for them to come to you; you go to them and genuinely strive to make amends.
This can set you on the road toward reconciliation. However, if they reject your efforts at reconciliation, that is their choice. Their response is not your responsibility. Your responsibility is to take the initiative to mend the broken relationship.
2. Refuse to feed the fire.
Bickering and gossiping do nothing to fix a broken relationship. You will only be feeding the fire and causing more damage. Do not allow a conflict over a specific issue to evolve into character assassination. That only drives the wedge deeper.
When you meet to discuss the issue and seek reconciliation, focus on the issue at hand. Do not lower yourself to attack the person or their integrity. Such attacks only build barriers and prevent the relationship from being repaired.
"You can't mend a broken relationship and get back together when you refuse to acknowledge your role in it." ~Tigress Luv
Also, guard your tone and avoid accusations. If you put them on the defensive you will not be able to work toward a resolution. So instead of harshly pointing the finger at them, describe your own feelings of anger, pain, or resentment. Speak in a vulnerable way, and allow them to ask questions to clarify the situation.
3. Accept responsibility when applicable.
If you have caused the damage to the relationship, admit it. Do not attempt to deny it, deflect it, or defend it. Take ownership of what you have done and sincerely apologize.
However, do not accept blame if you are truly innocent. Without become defensive, you can express your regret that there has been a conflict. You can apologize if you did not communicate very well and your words were misunderstood. And you can explain if a perceived wrong was never your intent. But do not lie by accepting undeserved blame.
4. Make amends.
If you are in the wrong and are able to make reparation, then do it. This may not always be possible or practical, but do what you can. If you have damaged their property, repair it or replace it. If you have harmed their reputation, set the record straight. If owe them a sincere apology, express it with a thoughtful gift.
"If you want to mend a broken relationship and get back together with your partner, first start by mending the damage you have done."
5. Identify the cause of the conflict and correct it.
Relational problems are often caused by personality conflicts. If you have a personality defect which contributed to the conflict, then recognize it and take steps to improve it. Was the conflict the result of edginess, irritability or selfishness? Were you rude, moody or judgmental? Are you prone to jump to conclusions? Do you come across as arrogant or obnoxious?
If you can identify traits within yourself which contribute toward relational conflict, then you can take strides to avoid similar conflicts in the future.
6. Do it now!
They say time heals all wounds. But that is only true when the wounds are treated in a timely manner. Otherwise, wounds can become infected and cause even greater problems. It does not take long for anger to turn into bitterness, so act quickly.
If you follow these six steps, you will have given your best effort toward healing a broken relationship. How your efforts are received is beyond your control. But at least you will have the satisfaction of doing your best. And in most cases, you will find that the relationship will heal and become even stronger.
Advice on Breakups
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