Conflict was just the start in a relationship dynamic that just doesn’t work anymore. But conflict it is that continues to mar relations even as protagonists try to pretend nothing’s wrong. What started the issues was conflict from values clashing, but what continued the impasse was uncommunicated fear from a ever growing chasm of distrust.
Distrust continues as parties – one at least, but most typically both – decide that the relationship isn’t worth the work involved. The sad reality is that any relationship can be restored, but it requires two willing participants. If one bails, the other is soon tempted to give up, too.
The truth is we must keep talking to continue to be in relationship.
When we have given up on a relationship we stop making the effort to communicate; that makes God sad. For all the love in the reconciliatory effort of Jesus, it’s lost to those who do not hold out for the touch of God as it can transform them or another person.
There are indicators of progress for dysfunctional relationships. But such indicators don’t ever appear in the absence of honesty – compelled of love – driven by a humility derived of the common good.
If we don’t keep talking our relationships don’t keep growing. And if we stop talking chances are we will move further apart and further away from wanting the relationship.
It’s why we must keep talking. Especially in those relationships where there is much mistrust and distrust, it’s even more important that those relationships are afforded the opportunity to engage every day possible.
But if it’s clear that only one of the parties is ever interested in reconciling that party deserves the freedom of pulling away in order to engage in healthier relationships.
Most relationships that start not to work never recover because of the lack of faith in one or both to just simply keep talking.
The gospel is about life. Life in relationships, in the reach of conflict, is about second chances. Where we believe in life, because we genuinely believe in the gospel, we are prepared to give things the grace of a fully fledged second chance.
Every important relationship deserves a second chance. And a second chance is as good as a sixtieth chance. We certainly are compelled to forgive – to rise about our pride and apologise to anyone we may need to.
The central hope of human relationships is trust; that we are able to simply keep talking.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.