Silence in relationships can be so uncomfortable. For me, especially after a disagreement or conflict, I want resolve. I want to sit down and talk through everything and figure it out, without having to walk away from each other. However, through many failed attempts, I’ve realized this is not always the best thing to do, especially if the other person is not ready to talk.
Sometimes, regardless of how uncomfortable it may be, there needs to be space, and there needs to be silence.
If we use the silence (and space) wisely, it actually proves to be very beneficial for the situation and the relationship. Here’s why:
Silence gives us time to reflect. It is hard to reflect when there is a bunch of noise. It is also hard to reflect on something when it is still right in our face, happening. When a conflict occurs, creating space between you and the conflict, as well as you and the person with whom you had the conflict, gives you the time needed to reflect on what happened.
During the silence, you can take time to look back on what happened, what was said, and what led to the disagreement or fight. Analyze it, learn it, and understand it. This reflection – of self and the situation – will help you decide how to proceed forward in relationship with this person while minimizing the probability of another conflict arising.
Silence gives us time to work through our emotions. I am FULL of emotions; all of them – the good, the bad, the really bad, the ugly – they bombard me every day. I also strongly dislike conflict, and dislike silence even more. When I have a disagreement with someone, all these emotions coming flooding over me, and if I’m not careful, they try to get me to react in fear rather than respond appropriately. Therefore, I know I need the silence and space. I need it so I can feel all I need to feel, even the illogical, dramatic, ugly emotions, without saying or doing anything I would regret.
My emotions try to get me to react in fear rather than respond appropriately.
As I’ve become more mature in dealing with my emotions – and more confident in the faithfulness and goodness of God to reign over every situation in my life – the length of silent time needed to work through what happened becomes shorter and shorter. However, it is still needed, and that’s ok. Silence gives us time to feel and release our emotions to God, accepting his peace in return.
Silence gives us time to find the best solution. If you’re anything like me, when you experience conflict or fight with someone, you run many scenarios through your mind as to how you are going to proceed. Usually they’re along the extreme lines of never talk to the person again and what it would be like running into them at the store and ignoring them or coming back at them with all these mean things because they deserve it because of how much they’ve hurt me. If you don’t do this, and instead, go straight to positive solutions, good for you
But I’ve talked to many people who do the same thing I do. This is why there needs to be silent space between the conflict and addressing the conflict: to come up with the right solution, not just the first one that pops into your mind. Usually, if enough time passes – and we invite God into the conversation – we get all those crazy solutions out of our system and settle on something that will bring peace and resolve to the situation.
Inviting God into the conversation will lead you to peace and resolve.
Conflict, disagreement, and fights can be extremely uncomfortable, but they do happen in relationships. Being willing to take some space and, in the silence, work through the situation, your feelings, and your response, will actually be benefit your relationship with the other person.