Here are some of the things you must do in order to restore a damaged relationship:
First attack the problem, not the person. You can't fix the problem if you’re obsessed with fixing the blame.
“A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a fire”
In resolving any conflict, how you say it is as important as what you say. If you say it offensively, you’ll be received defensively. Nagging doesn’t work. You're never persuasive when you’re abrasive. Don’t use words that are condemning, belittling, comparing, labelling, insulting, condescending or sarcastic, rather use only helpful words.
“Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you.
Second, focus on your relationship, not your differences. It's unrealistic to expect everybody to agree about everything. But when we focus on the relationship, the problem often loses its significance, diminishes or becomes irrelevant. Often, we can re-establish the relationship even though we’re unable to resolve our differences. We'll always have honest disagreements, but surely we can disagree without being disagreeable. We can walk arm in arm without seeing eye to eye. This doesn't mean giving up on finding a solution. You may need to continue discussing it, but now you agree to do it in the spirit of love. Reconciliation means burying the hatchet not necessarily the issue.
Getting along with each other requires more than compliance, it calls for co-operation. So make sure you validate the other person's feelings. Never try to talk someone out of how they feel. Listen, without becoming defensive, and nod that you understand, even when you don’t agree. Feelings aren't always true or logical, but until they're validated you won't get anywhere.
We all act badly when we are hurting. When you are willing to empathise with someone's feelings it says, ‘I care about our relationship more than our differences, you matter to me’. Yes, it's a sacrifice to patiently absorb somebody else's anger - especially when it's unfounded.
First get rid of the log in your own eye, then you will see enough to deal with the speck in your friend's eye
Don’t forget that timing is all important. Don’t try to mend the relationship when you’re tired, rushed, angry or likely to be interrupted. And don't do it on the hoof. The time and effort you're willing to put into restoring it indicates the value you place on the relationship. So do it when you're both at your best.
Since we all have blind spots, ask a Christian Counsellor to help you evaluate your attitudes and actions. Ask God, ‘Am I part of the problem? Am I unrealistic, insensitive or too sensitive?’
When you can admit your flaws, it diffuses the other person's anger because they're expecting you to be defensive. Don't make excuses or shift blame, just acknowledge your part and admit that you have messed up. Yes it's hard to do!
God has given us the ministry of restoring relationships