There are no easy answers to the wrinkles in our relationships. We would love a wand to wave that would solve all the problems-but that’s for fairy tales! People and problems are more concrete than that and the solutions require hard work and a real desire to change things for the common good.
What does someone do who has lived in an unhappy home and moved into a marriage that became abusive and violent eventually ending in fleeing from the home with children and suitcases filled with grief, pain and bitterness? How do you live through a divorce that ends a real relationship? What does a young woman do who is living in a small room trying to juggle a job alongside bringing up a small child which she thought was the result of a growing relationship? I think of a widow who is now struggling finding that her emptiness is tangible and that the pain can be touched! Another man I know is trying to cope with children that are growing away from him and on a journey that he knows will bring them hurt and yet there is nothing he can do to prevent it – his children think they know best and reject any advice as an intrusion into their sovereign territory. All of these people are real and they found hope and a future outside of relationships.
We have been pressurized into thinking that life without intimate relationships does not exist and therefore if you are single or separated then life is meaningless. That need not be so. These people have one thing in common. They either had or found a real and personal relationship with God that helps them through the painful realities of life. God need not be like a distant cousin that we are uncomfortable with but someone that we can really know and enjoy. Some one who helps us when we are down; cries with us and laughs alongside us. They have found others who know God like that and the relational jigsaw pieces that are missing in their lives can be found in the lives of others. In God people can know completeness even when they have broken relationships.
Not all relationships are so broken that they cannot be repaired. When things go wrong approach the person with humility and expect to be wrong in your perception of where you think truth lies. Our usual reaction is to blame someone else – we seldom allow wrong to be a part of our own make-up!
Openness and honesty is the way to have a really healthy relationship. There is a plant that when attacked or threatened in any way folds up and falls over so that any invading insect falls off. This illustrates the way we act before one another! We just clam up and fold up and refuse to allow others into our lives. We need to learn to be honest with one another and allow openness towards others
You know the saying; don’t let the sun go down on your anger (taken from the Bible).This teaches us the benefits of immediate problem solving and if we practice this pattern of life it helps prevent little stones becoming a huge mountain. Before you hit the sleep button sort it out!
People joke about having a quick temper. I am like a volcano; I erupt quickly but just as quickly subside. We excuse that by saying "That's the way I am. I say things I don't mean but it's all forgotten! Is it? Who wants to live with a volcano? To live with someone like that produces bitterness, anger and resentment. To be shouted at chips away self confidence and honesty. We will do anything to keep the peace! We will not raise issues. If you have an anger problem, you need to deal with it. It is not right and you are responsible for it! Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me is a load of rubbish. Words are like acid drops - they wear us away and can never be retrieved!
Some have mastered the art of silence. They boast that they never lose their temper, but enter their home after an argument and the atmosphere is thick with tension. They are using silence to put their point across! Responding to disagreement with silence is not a good plan. It destroys any chance of real communication!
It is hard to say sorry! Many people have gone through their entire lives without ever saying sorry to their partners. How many children have heard a father or mother, who had judged too hastily apologise to their child? We often judge saying sorry as a weakness, when in fact it is a great strength. You are not perfect and your acceptance doesn't lie in never making a mistake! Learn to admit wrong before God and others. Practice forgiveness with one another. Be willing to forgive as often as you are asked. Learn to bury the past. When something is forgiven let it be forgotten. Don't file away grievances in a to be used later folder. Don't make bullets of past wrongs to be fired in the present or stored for the future!
Relationships often end up in negative equity because of our neglect!
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Charity Commission No. 109336
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Wednesday 7.30 pm
Newry Baptist Church
31-33 Lower Catherine Street