Some of my favourite marriage and family teachers are psychologists who know just about everything there is to know about properly maintaining relationships, yet they admit they still don’t handle their relationships perfectly.
It’s engrained in us to be selfish, territorial, offended, offensive and reactionary. Reprogramming all this is possible, but takes work and time. You’ll never be perfect.
Yeah it’s true. No matter how hard you work on relationships you will not get it right 100% of the time.
That stings a bit to us perfectionists.
I’ll admit that knowing that I won’t get it perfect makes me want to give us sometimes.
Paul describes this concept to us in Romans 7:14b-15.
“The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.”
That verse sums it all up. I don’t understand myself. I hurt who I love, and do what I hate.
But, how fast can I make it right?
We’ll sin, we’ll offend, we’ll say the wrong thing. We’ll hurt our spouse, our mom, our friend, our sibling, even our child.
Love and Respect talks about the crazy cycle.
The remedy seems simple. Be respectful. Always.
So this is what Dr. Eggerichs’ prescribes. Break the cycle as fast as you can.
Don’t be discouraged with the fact that you’re on the cycle. Accept that you might jump on multiple times a day!
It felt awkward at first to look at Andrew and explain what felt unloving instead of tearing him down. It was humbling to hear why he felt disrespected without just defending myself and accusing him.
Since we’ve started trying to break the cycle ASAP, we’ve gone twenty seconds, five minutes, two hours, and at the worst an evening.
It’s sad when you lose any bit of time together, but the point is that you turn that disagreement around to strengthen you.
In Real Marriage, Mark Driscoll says that a good fight is one that in the end brings you closer.
This isn’t just about keeping the peace. There are real issues that need to be discussed. Hurt can’t just be swept under the rug.
Think this is just true in marriage? Think again.
Most conflict between women (yes girls can get at each other), comes down to women being unloving to each other. Break that cycle right when you notice it. If you are finding that your friendships are strained, check your reactions.
Stop beating yourself for getting in frustrating conflicts. You can definitely work to reduce things, but it ultimately comes down to how fast can you put a stop to it.
As long as we’re married, we’ll hurt each other. But I also hope that as long as we’re together we’ll love and respect each other.
Make it a race to make it right!