Relationships are basically in every area of our live. Many of the same ideas apply to all areas but I want to focus today on marital/spousal relationships. It is amazing that the same area can either bring delight and health or it can be filled with pain and even destruction.
Have you ever wondered just why God would have put some people together? Or why, there would be such differences in those who fall in love with each other? In reality, these differences can bring strength to the relationship.
Take the area of temperatures—who is cool, and who is hot? As one who is always on the cool side, it is amazing to me when someone comes into the area where I am in, announces that it is hot in there, and then proceeds to make it cool—open up the window, turn on the fan, turn on the air conditioner, etc. And, I think, “who says it is hot? I’m not”. It is now a practice that when we travel, I carry a blanket along so I can be warm (at least warmer) and Lyn can enjoy cooler air.
One of my first questions when I get to Heaven, after I get through glorifying Jesus, saying Hi to friends, etc will be to ask if it would not have been much simpler to pair people up by temperatures—rather than such differences. Well, maybe that won’t be very important then!
I know this doesn’t sound at all glamorous—nor is it—but to sleep well, most of the year, I sleep in a sweat outfit with an extra cover while Lyn sleeps with a sheet. Now, I know that is more than you wanted to know, but it truly illustrates the point. Is either of us wrong? No. But it is easy to act like the other must be out of whack with reality. Of course, I would never do that!
Through the ages, most couples have faced an even more gigantic issue—one party likes to talk out things, and the other has nothing to say. One says to the other, “what are you thinking?” And, the other answers, “Nothing”. And the first person thinks that is the most absurd answer possible. How could anyone not be thinking? What goes on up there? And so, that answer becomes viewed as totally lacking in honesty and cooperation. They must not even care. And the other wonders why you would even ask. Why don’t you just let things go?
As you well know, there are many, many more examples of differences—The differences and the resulting interactions may seem small but somehow the negative impact expands faster than yeast dough or the proverbial rabbit explosions.
Simply put by many “experts” is that a man wants to be respected and a woman wants to know she is valued. Question is—who starts that process? If one does not feel valued, it is hard to respect. If one does not feel respected, it is hard to value. Someone has to be willing to take the first step. We cannot wait for the other to do what we want before we will do what they want. Crazy and complex! But, still the truth. OUCH!
Actually, it really comes from within us as a person—who am I? What kind of person am I? If we wait on the other, it is going to be more chaotic and destructive than the Wood Duck in the wrong place in my last meditation.
Having our needs met in a relationship is crucial. If not, it is often destructive of our persona. One key to that is to know what is important and then articulate that to the other—not as a demand but as a gift so that the other is aware.
Is there a magic key? Yes. Nothing simple and yet it really is—the best I know is to turn it over to God. He greatly cares about our relationships. Claiming Scriptural promises allows Him to work in our lives. A great one for relationships is:
Ephesians 2:14. “You, Jesus are our way of peace among our family members. You have broken down the enemy’s wall that used to separate us. All of us that used to be upset with each other are parts of You, and in that way, we have become one.”
It doesn’t take me off of the hook but it steers me in the right direction.
Use as needed!
Spiritual Director Jeanie Hershey