I’ve been talking to a lot of people lately. A lot more counseling than usual. So many people are searching, struggling, and just plain hurting. It’s been interesting to hear all the different stories but I have found some common issues and causes.
Here is an observation I have made recently.
Over time, say 3, 5, or even 10 years in a marriage or any relationship, we develop habits, or patterns. We develop these patterns of behavior that become the trade marks of our relationships. We behave a certain way in certain situations for so long that it becomes very natural for us and we will immediately default to that behavior when the given situation arises.
For example, let’s say you have a conflict that needs resolution. If you don’t know how to resolve conflict in a healthy way, you struggle through the conflict, a fight ensues, feelings get hurt, walls are built and a behavior is learned. Not only a behavior, but usually an escape mechanism as well. So the next time there is a conflict, since we still don’t know how to resolve it in a healthy way, we fall back on our new learned behavior and repeat the process.
After repeating this process for a few months or so, we may eventually just skip the process and the pain it causes and avoid any and all confrontation. So the happy couple now simply reside together and the marriage grows, stale and stagnant and really begins to stink.
Thus the searching, struggling, and hurting.
If you can learn a destructive behavior, you can learn a healthy behavior. Can you recall a time in your relationship when things were happy or healthy? If so, what was different about that time as opposed to now? Can you replace the healthy, happy behavior of then with the hurting behavior of now? I think you can. And if you continue the pattern of healthy behavior, over time it will become the pattern. It will become your default. It will heal the hurting.
NOTE: I know this is easier said than done but it can be done. Ask for God’s power and seek Christian leaders to guide you and hold you accountable. You will be amazed at how healthy your relationships can be.