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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Putting the Relationship Before the Issue

“I just couldn’t let him/her get away with that...”

Why is it we’re suddenly prepared to sacrifice years or decades of hard work and love on condition of a partner acceding to one ‘important’ issue? It’s a temporary bout of insanity that elevates one moment over eternity. Yet, this is how some very good relationships end.

Lessons from the Christian Way

The truth is always the truth in the kingdom of God. In this context, the truth that never changes is size of the relationship in comparison to the size of any one issue—unless that issue looms larger than the relationship (in the form of abuse or neglect).

Ad hoc issues bring with them aberrations of life, common in quite uncommon ways. Issues—or things to have conflict over—occur in relationships all the time but their nature appears to catch us off guard due to a plethora of factors including mood variation, capacity for fear, and circumstance.

The Christian way for the ad hoc issue is forgiveness and restoration. If issues become patterned, then it’s still forgiveness, but it’s not always trust for the way things were. Trust at times must be re-earned. Still, the relationship can move forward.

Notwithstanding, the best part of Christian values in relationships is perspective. Arguments can’t get out of control where perspective is kept in sight—even by one partner.

Long Partnerships Don’t Happen via ‘Luck’

Relationships are contingent on mutual sacrifice. Neither party can afford to hold grudges or refuse forgiveness if longevity is the hope.

It may form as a cliché; one we need frequent reminding of... long partnerships don’t just happen i.e. without a lot of intent. Sound partners see their relationship as the central alliance of their lives—a force from which all of life remits.

This means that the moment one partner chooses to take their selfish turn, they not only curse the relationship to a standstill, they also send bad ripples into the further reaches of their personal and interpersonal lives, and probably that of their partner’s too.

The value of harmony in a marriage cannot be understated. The more grace is issued on one side of the relationship, the more chance that grace will eventually be returned.

But the love of grace is a gift—we never give for want of return. This is the beauty of any relationship. Blessed is more thought of the other, or at least of the unity.

Selfishness has no appropriate role in partnership. It is better by far to learn how to shelve it.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

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