Maybe we should just agree to disagree. This sentiment is usually offered when it becomes clear that a dispute cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of all parties involved. When such an impasse has been reached, there are times when the better, more pragmatic thing to do is to simply “cease and desist.”
Yet, we all know that there are situations when this simply is not practical. On the home front, there are daily decisions that must be made on issues ranging from parenting to finances. When a husband and wife experience a marked difference of opinion on pressing issues, agreeing to disagree usually doesn’t lead to conflict resolution, but rather to more conflict.
When tactical differences lead to tension, one of the bigger challenges for couples – or any two parties who are pursuing a common goal – is to find a way to work through these differences in order to achieve the greater good. Unfortunately, too often a clash of tactics leads to an attack on the person and not the problem. This is detrimental to everyone involved, and never results in the best outcome.
John F. Kennedy famously said, “What unites is greater than what divides us.” Yet, in the midst of heated discourse, these words tend to fall on deaf ears. Whether the dispute occurs among friends, families, married couples, church members, co-workers, business partners, or world leaders, sometimes we get so embroiled in a conflict that we lose sight of the common ground we originally shared.
Whether you agree to disagree, or must find a way to agree to agree, when conflict emerges, attack the problem – not the other person. Consider what is dividing you. Are you in disagreement over goals or tactics? Once you have this more clearly in focus, you may find the road to common ground is easier to navigate.
The search for common ground isn’t always a simple task. Yet, I have found it goes so much better when I make time to meet with my Savior, and ask Him to shine a spotlight on my priorities and motives. I’m still learning… still striving to move forward in this journey. Come with me. Walk the path.
Dale Pyne – CEO, Peacemaker Ministries
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