Gauchay is taking a Family Relations class this semester. As you can imagine, they talk about the different relationships with the family. It looks really exciting and thought-provoking. This week they have been talking about conflict within marriage and whether or not it is normal or even okay to argue or fight in your relationship. It seems that the majority of couples fight or quarrel to some degree, though there are a few that claim they do not fight or argue at all. Gauchay and I seem to be one of those odd ones out that do not fight, and her class was rather incredulous and doubtful when they found this out.
For whatever reason, the world seems to think that it is not possible to not disagree to the point of harsh words and raised voices. I do not agree with this at all. I believe that there exists within every person the possibility to avoid conflict, to love, and to be open and honest with others. I call such people peacegivers. While the more common term is peacemaker, I kind of like the term peacegiver more, so I'm going to stick with it.
Why do we fight with others? Why do we argue with others? It is obviously inevitable that at some point you will disagree with someone. Gauchay and I disagree on a lot of things. But the act of letting that disagreement escalate to a heated argument and even a yelling match is not a natural thing to do. That is caused by pride and arrogance. When we allow our pride to take over, we say things we don't mean, we do things we'll later regret, and we break bonds that will take a long time to reforge.
"But everyone argues", you say. But does that make it right? Just because it's the "common" thing that everyone does, does that mean that it is okay to do? Christ teaches this in the Book of Mormon:
"For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another."
Contention does not come from God. It comes from the devil himself, because he is the father of contention. Satan has gained a great victory in making the world think that it is natural and okay to argue as husband and wife, as brother and sister, as friends.
Something else you may be thinking is, "But Ben, if we don't argue or fight, then won't we just be bottling up all those emotions inside of us, until one day we just both explode?" Now, while the exploding part may be kind of cool, this is not a correct idea. Just because you don't yell at each other doesn't mean you don't have conflict. Like I said before, Gauchay and I disagree on a lot of things. But when we discuss them, we don't argue or yell. We explain how we feel and listen to one another. We discuss things until we figure out a solution that we can both live with. This is definitely more optimal than any kind of argument that ends with us both feeling miserable, unloved, and empty.
I promise you that there is another way. You can be a peacegiver. You can exude calmness and clarity, peace and pleasure, happiness and hope. This is the way of Christ, this is the way of those that take upon them His name.
When you find that you and your friend disagree on something, stop for a second. Realize that you are both probably right in your own minds, and remember that you can discuss things mildly without coming to blows. Choose to be calm, to show love and understanding. I promise you that as you seek to be a peacegiver, as you strive to avoid contention, and as you search for ways to love one another, you will notice a change in your life. You will notice you feel the Spirit of God more. You will see how pointless contention is. You will see how good you feel after you calmly discuss a disagreement with someone else.
You will become more like God, because God himself is the ultimate peacegiver. It is He that gave us the opportunity to change our very being. He is rooting for us. He understands we're not perfect, and I promise you that He is right now inviting you to be an instrument in His hands in giving peace to all those that surround you, so that they in turn will feel God's presence in greater abundance in their life.
How much more enjoyable is life when it is filled with peace.