Cracks in a relationship can cause major problems in your life, especially if they aren’t dealt with. Neuroscience expert, Dr Bill Price shares how you can intentionally reconnect with your other half in meaningful ways.
A woman entered a shop looking for an ornament and found one of a couple dancing. She was delighted and then to her astonishment discovered that the ornament was on a special. Her enquiry highlighted the fact that the reason why the ornament was discounted was that the male figure was coming undone due to a crack. Some of our relationships have cracks in them and we find ourselves married but not engaged.
Cracks in a relationship appear when we least expect them and we have to pay particular attention to our relationships as they requires hard focused attention to make them successful. Nothing can grow without our specific attention and hard effort – not even our relationships! I have to admit that when my wife and I do marriage therapy with couples, we often find ourselves having to bite our tongues when we hear either one or both of the parties saying that ‘”God will save our marriage!” Truth be told, God will not do what we are expected to do! Ever! God will not do our pushups for us.
The notion that we have some invisible success formula, because we believe in God, is a myth since we are just as real and normal as anyone else. We all face the same realities in life. Yes, we do have our faith to sustain us and God to call out to in times of need; however, God will never do what we can do ourselves, and therefore our relationships and marriages are our responsibility.
God may give us wisdom and insight but He never will do the work or relate to our partners on our behalf. To make our dreams come true we have to stay awake!
The connection between any two people is not only about communication. True traditional approaches to communication state that we have receivers and senders; then there is the interpretation part and boring information goes on and on. Relationships are about life in action. We are not mechanical robots but human, making us beings with meaning and purpose driving us and our relationships with other people from deep within.
Cracks in a relationship lead to statistics like these
- 7 out of 10 marriages end in divorce;
- The difference between Christian and non-Christian divorces is only 0.02% ;
- Most statistics prove that people go into a relationship thinking that if they each contribute 50% towards the relationship it will mean they have a 100% marriage. Sadly this kind of mathematics does not work in relationships because each partner has to give 100% making it a 200% outcome for it to really work;
- Latest statistics prove that if a couple do not work on a strategy prior to marriage (including a premarital course) they have a 60% chance of landing in the divorce courts within three years of their marriage;
- Couples who live together prior to marriage (cohabitants) stand a 75% chance to end their marriage between two to three years.
Relationships based on the 50/50 principle have already defaulted into a process of failure. You will most probably find the following cracks in a relationship where both spouses aren’t giving their all.
- this kind of a relationship is based on performance for acceptance;
- the “meet me halfway” approach is based on mutual giving because of merit and how partners have to ‘work’ to ‘deserve’ each other;
- the give-and-take approach is motivated by heart, or how each partner ‘feels’, rather than how they think;
- in this relationship focus is on the weaknesses rather than on the strengths of the other partner.
If you are going to survive cracks in a relationship, each partner has to have an attitude that is driven by a fundamental belief: “I will do everything I can to love you, without demanding an equal amount in return.” This approach creates a commonality and a oneness instead of isolation and performance.
The 200% relationship calls for total change of mind, heart and soul; the focus of the relationship creates space between each other and invites God into that relationship. This in turn will create growth in the midst of selfishness in action.
Dennis Rainey, in his book “Staying Close”, says that you can’t be selfish in a three legged race! The society in which we live is driven by desperation for self-satisfaction, where there is little knowledge of, or true application of self-sacrifice and self-denial. We live in the age of personal freedom and self-actualisation which are not bad when in balance, but when they are out of sync they can cause cracks in a relationship. The capacity to give all, to give in and at times simply to give up are elements often lacking in general relationship dynamics today.
CS Lewis in one of his books describes the impact of selfish isolation on the human heart within relationships: “Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness.
But in that casket — safe, dark, motionless, airless — it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers of love is hell.”
The 200% marriage or relationship is one where we allow the fruits of the Holy Spirit to abundantly grow and develop: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These fruits have to be nurtured in developed and oftentimes they have to be an opposite response to the realities of life. This means that we have do shift from being unconscious participants to becoming conscious and intentional in our relationships.
- What are the three pieces of evidence that tell you that you are behaving unconsciously in your important relationships?
- What is the evidence of, and what impact does your unconscious behaviour have with your partner / spouse / special friend?
- What causes you to think you may be infected with the “Excuse Virus”, and what are the most frequently used excuses when challenged with a mediocre relationship?
- What five things do you need to pay attention to in order to shift your part of the relationship towards giving 100%?
- How aware are you of the fact that in challenging times the fruit of the Spirit needs to be practiced in your life?
- Is there practical and tangible evidence of a relationship plan/strategy in your most important relationships; has this plan been co-developed with those within these relationships?
- In what ways is yourpractice of personal freedom and self-actualisation adding value to your relationship?
- In what way is your practice of personal freedom and self-actualisation diminishing the value of the relationship?
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