Keeping peace vs. making peace …..

I just want to keep peace!

Have you ever thought that or heard that?

God calls us to live at peace and to make peace, but the emphasis is not on keeping the peace only.

In conflict zones around the world, countries sometimes send in a military presence to be  “peacekeepers.” They are not working for reconciliation, just maintaining peace.

In relationships, if I am trying to keep the peace only, I do whatever I can to avoid conflict. Some people are inclined to avoid conflict as much as possible. While that may look good at first glance, that approach doesn't usually work long term.

I have heard many women say, "We never resolve anything; he just won't talk about it." Or we may hear husbands say, "She keeps bringing up the same things. I won't keep arguing about the same things and never make progress."

Because of a person's background or personality, they may be more inclined to avoid conflict or to confront others easily. Regardless of the reasons, we all experience conflicts and how we deal with conflict heavily influences the success or failure of our relationships.

Keeping the peace, may mean that I don’t voice my opinion or desires. Or I don’t disagree with the other person, no matter what. If I make a statement or make a decision and the other person disagrees with me, I ignore it or walk away.

When I have that mindset, it doesn’t mean that my opinions or desires have changed, it means that I stuff it all down inside or I avoid talking about it. I “sweep it under the rug.” 

Results of ignoring the issues or avoiding them...

The problem or conflict isn’t resolved by avoiding it. Actually, it usually grows and gets worse. Eventually, one or both of the people in the relationship may explode or dissolve the relationship.
In marriage, dissolving the relationship shouldn’t be a choice. Also, avoiding the issues instead of resolving them can’t be an option.

A healthy relationship means that I am able to voice my opinions or ideas without fear of attack or being demeaned.

Resolving the conflicts and learning to talk and listen to each other in a way that glorifies God is possible! Many couples don't have the skills to know how to do this and need godly, wise counsel to spend time with them and give them guidance. 

There is hope!

Do you want to "keep the peace" or really make peace?

PAUSE Principle ….
The concepts in this section are from Peacemaker Ministries.

As a general rule, you should try to negotiate substantive issues in a cooperative manner rather than a competitive manner. In other words, instead of aggressively pursuing your own interests and letting others look out for themselves, you should deliberately look for solutions that are beneficial to everyone involved. 

As the Apostle Paul put it, Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4) 

A biblical approach to negotiation may be summarized in five basic steps, which we refer to as the PAUSE Principle:
  • Prepare (pray, get the facts, seek godly counsel, develop options) 
  • Affirm relationships (show genuine concern and respect for others) 
  • Understand interests (identify others' concerns, desires, needs, limitations, or fears) 
  • Search for creative solutions (prayerful brainstorming) 
  • Evaluate options objectively and reasonably (evaluate, don't argue) 
If you have never used this approach to negotiation before, it will take time and practice (and sometimes advice from others) to become proficient at it. But it is well worth the effort, because learning the PAUSE principle will help you not only to resolve your present dispute but also to negotiate more effectively in all areas of your life.