Do you have what it takes to be a bridge in a family conflict?

by Rod Smith

To the man or woman who wants to bridge, or negotiate healing, or initiate restoration, in a new or age-old family conflict:

  • Know clearly what you want before you initiate any dialogue. I hope the “you” is clear. It’s not what your spouse wants. It’s not what you think your parents (living or deceased) want. It’s what you want. If you are the one who wants it (healing, reconciliation) you’d best be very honest with yourself about exactly what it is you want. “I want reconciliation,” is not enough. What degrees of reconciliation are you willing to settle for? If you can’t get all of what you want how much compromise can you handle?
  • Find the most humble version of yourself and live there for a few weeks. This will permit you to enter the world of those who oppose. When and if you do meet, bring the most humble version of yourself to the meeting. This means you will listen more than you will talk and, in doing so, you will seek understand more than to be understood.
  • You are not ready for reconciliation until you are able to articulate the conflict from all sides. Work on that before you initiate any dialogue.

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