This week we are continuing our look at “RELATIONSHIPS” and asking the question how do we survive conflict within those relationships? We know that we are all very different and conflict is inevitable. We also know that we spend so much time blaming the over person and trying to change them. What if we each took a step back and looked at our own lives and tried weed out some of the relationship killers in our own lives.
This week we are going to be weed spotting. We will be looking for those little weeds in fertile soil and learning how to deal with them in good time, so that they never have the chance to develop and undermine a given relationship. We will be rooting out the potential relationship killers. We are rooting out the seeds of potential separation well before they lead to divorce in a marriage, the acrimonious dissolution of a business partnership, children leaving home and never returning, or people leaving a team or church in bitterness and bad attitude. We are not only going to do some weeding but we also need to do some feeding. Good relationships, like good soil, need fertiliser and nutrients adding to replace the ones taken by the vigorously growing weeds. We must add positive relationship building principles and practices to the soil of our relationships if they are to thrive and be fruitful.
Let’s get our gardening gloves on and root out those relationship killers.
The Weed – Independence
At the centre of every relationship is the presumption that we will do things together – marriage is about togetherness and shared lives. But over time the weed of independence can start to grow and there will be trouble ahead especially when conflict happens. The fact is, two people can be married but not be true partners. They live under the same roof, share finances and a common surname. But in practice they are living independent lives. He has his friends, she has hers. He plays golf, she goes to gym. He has his career, she has hers. He likes to boast that he “does what he wants” and isn’t tied to her apron strings. She loves to play the “independent woman” card and assure her friends that she is not “under the thumb”. As time passes their independent choices slowly pull them apart until, one day, the bond is severed.
For a relationship to thrive independence must die.
The Feed – Committed to Partnership
This means having a commitment to the bigger reason you entered the relationship in the first place than your personal desires. There are practical ways you can feed this:
Be part of each other’s worlds
Take an interest in each other’s world
Deal with things together and trust one another
Be aware of each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
Your commitment to partnership means you will always consider the other person and you will think for two.
Ecclesiastes 4 v 9 – 12
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
The third strand mentioned here in Ecclesiastes is your commitment to Christ