How do you solve problems and resolve conflict…  with your head or heart?  Personally, I don’t like it when others come at me feelings-first because I feel so ill-equipped.  I usually charge head-first into issues, but that generally doesn’t bode well with the softer sex (if you know what I mean).  When a conversation or confrontation starts with, “I feel” – I must admit I feel quite lost.  It’s like I’ve started a trip without knowing where point A is: as if I have no reference point.  Not that I am justifying myself (in fact, I’m probably not on good ground here) but part of me just rebels against the idea of submitting to somebody else’s perspective as my authority.

Emotions are important, very important … vital.  Great heads don’t make good leaders, great hearts do!  But sometimes feelings get in the way of good logic — and at other times, common sense is destructive to tender emotions.  Ever notice that marriages, offices, and churches often have a good mix of hearts and heads?  And why is it that the more you care about someone, the more magnified the conflict becomes?  In order for the talking heads to connect to the tender hearts, please consider these key ideas:

– Be willing to be wrong – even at the cost of your most precious rights: your intellectual & emotional property
– Be understanding that emotions are often the casualties of innocent miscommunications and that logic often causes as many problems as it solves.
– Make sure to listen first and talk later.  Hearts need an understanding / sympathy; heads need verbal acknowledgement / respect.  Don’t be defensive, and, whatever you do, don’t argue with their feelings or logic (that goes nowhere fast).
– Remember, we all share a common enemy.  No, I’m not talking about your boss, your neighbor, your ex, or the government.  It’s important to remember, in the heat of the moment, that our fight is a spiritual one (Eph. 6:12).
– Spiritual people take the first step.  The first step is often a doozie … it takes a lot of humility and love (Gal. 6:1-3).

I welcome you to weigh in with your experiences and principles of relational problem-solving and helpful tips…