How We Handle Conflict in Our Own Marriage
By Dr. Scott Peck & Shannon Peck
We are an amazingly happy couple.
Do we have conflict?
Of course we do. But we move past conflict into the peace zone as rapidly as possible.
Here’s what usually happens.
- We disagree about something
- Shannon knows she’s right
- Scott also knows he’s right.
- We tangle verbally from that perspective without happy results.
- Feelings are usually hurt.
- It becomes obvious that we are in a state of conflict rather than a state of peace.
It’s interesting what happens next.
We often take time alone to cool down & reflect.
Shannon goes to her inner refuge, politely, behind a closed door to pray and reflect and calm herself. This takes time but it’s vital to our relationship.
During the quiet time, she allows herself to explore her feelings of anger, hurt, & frustration. And to acknowledge these fully. She notes the energy of anger and how forceful, aggressive, even hurried it is. “No time! I must vent now!”
Then, she waits for insights which help her come into clarity and gain a perspective.
Sometimes, if she’s still upset, she will try and distance herself from the story with detachment (e.g. “This situation and anger do not define me!”). She’s interested in being true to herself as well as learning something and moving higher into peace. Who doesn’t crave peace when they’re feeling stressed, hurt, or angry!
All these practices lead to a softening within Shannon’s heart. She knows our loving relationship is more important than any conflict. She wants to protect it.
Scott’s private approach is slightly different. He knows & loves the 10 peace steps of a Peace Master that we teach & he tries to live from this consciousness – so conflict deeply disturbs him within himself.
In his alone time, Scott too gets out his feelings on paper, but even as he’s doing this, he’s knowing “I’m going to be very unhappy with myself if I don’t get in the peace zone quickly – & I know It’s up to me.” He knows that peace comes from a heart at peace vs a heart at war, as the authors of “The Anatomy of Peace” (Arbinger Institute) discuss. And he knows that, in our own teaching, that envisioning peace privately is the first step.
As a result, Scott opens the door in his heart for envisioning peace vs feeling angry, upset, disturbed, or misunderstood.
All these practices lead to a softening within Scott’s heart. He knows our fabulous, loving relationship is more important than any conflict.
By the time we get together again, both our hearts are softer. Both hearts are seeking peace. One of us might apologize (in our private reflection, it often becomes more obvious who might have precipitated the conflict). Then we listen to each other – really listen. In that open listening, we see the conflict from the other’s point of view. That is usually quite awakening because we are no longer defensive & defending our “position.” We both use sweet words, soft words, as we explore what needs to be explored. This leads to loving resolution & a restoration of our free-flowing love together.
This is honestly what happens in our relationship. We know we love each other & we each relish peace over conflict. It’s not always a snap to get to peace together, but we always do. We are probably in a state of peace with each other about 97% of the time because of our dedication to these practices of deep love for each other. But that 3% can be tough. Our commitment to moving past conflict into peace, however, is so important to each of us that this 3% never gets a foothold in our lives.
There’s another story we’ll share later of our previous marriages & the hell we went through & how we created peace within ourselves.
If you’d like to get better at turning conflict into peace in your relationships, please join our FREE 10-week Peace Course, Become a Peace Master.
It begins January 28, 2017 as part of the Season for NonViolence created to honor Gandhi & Martin Luther King.