How to Build a Bridge in a Relationship

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When something has come between you and a loved one, time does not necessarily heal all wounds. Past hurts that are not dealt with in an effective manner sometimes get buried. Resolving family conflict does require effort and forgiveness, but even if years have passed, you can build a bridge and heal the relationship.

  • Make yourself emotionally available. To start building up what has been torn down by conflict, both parties must be willing to be authentic and acknowledge one another's feelings.

  • Establish contact with your loved one. Bridging this divide may seem difficult, especially if you have not spoken to them for a long time, but this is necessary to bring resolution.

  • Tell the truth in love. Clearly tell the person what they did to hurt you. Do this in a way that lets them know everyone makes mistakes and nobody is perfect.

  • Format your conversation in action and reaction statements. For instance, say, "When you call me names, I feel like less of a human being." This way you can identify which action is affecting which feeling. Make sure to affirm each other's views on the matter.

  • Apologize for whatever part you played in bringing about or prolonging the conflict and be ready to accept an apology from the other person to facilitate a resolution.

  • Change your behavior. This is the most difficult step because most people are creatures of habit. Try to catch yourself when you do something to cause conflict, apologize right away and then say something to build the other person up instead. This way, the other person knows you're attempting to change.

Tips & Warnings

  • Bridging the gap between family members means the conflict between you will come to some type of resolution. Mere words have changed the course of history and can do the same for your relationship as well.

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