Contributed by Andrew Love
Did you know that all couples fight? Even the ones that are so cute and cuddly. We all fight. It’s healthy, it’s apart of our growth.
Fighting is a little like exfoliating our skin. (Full disclosure—I have real-life experience in spas, and I’m secure in admitting that). For anyone that is unfamiliar with the process of exfoliation, it advertised as a gentle process of cleansing the outer layer of your skin in order to remove all the dirt and grime so that you face radiates with newness and youthful beauty. At least that’s the idea. But in reality, it is like sandpaper scraping off a layer of your skin so that your new skin underneath can have its turn to shine.
It’s pretty painful. Beauty can be painful.
You know what else can be painful? Loving people.
We have a tendency to treat the people closest to us very harshly at times. Perhaps its the fact that they are simply physically closer to us when we are in a bad mood, but more likely it’s due to the fact that love requires a process of exfoliation in and of itself.
To use another metaphor, muscle growth occurs when we rip our muscle tissue and give our muscles the necessary nutrients in order to grow back stronger than they were before. Growing muscle = tearing your muscle.
This is very much the case with love. The process of two people becoming one in heart is only truly possible after many hard fought battles. A relationship is about letting go of yourself in order to make room for the other. Building love muscles requires breaking down your selfish tendencies in order to give more bandwidth to the other.
Unfortunately, we don’t have many examples in our movies and music to help us understand this growth process. Most songs are either about being ‘in love’ with someone or breaking up with them. But what about fighting with someone you love and finding a deeper appreciation for them in the process? Not so much.
Then what do we do if we aren’t able to find peace within your relationship? Where do we go?
One major flaw in the way our modern world operates is that in many cases we are severely disconnected from one another. Many couples struggle because they don’t have strong relationships with their parents, pastors or even friends to consult with during tough times. So they try to figure things out by themselves, often exacerbating the problem.
We need people. People need people—it’s a fundamental need of all humans. Another blog will come out regarding how to reach out to mentors/elders/etc to gain wisdom and guidance, but today let’s just focus on vision.
Do you have a clear vision for your relationship? Have you written out a mission & vision statement for your family?
Most likely not. Most people haven’t. We are very precise with our time and energy when it comes to work, fitness, finances, etc.—but it is seldom the case with our relationships. We all too often act haphazardly with the most important aspect of our lives—our love.
In times of tribulation within our relationships, having a strong and compelling vision pulls us out of the present and reminds of the Longview. Knowing where you are going—having a clear destination—makes veering slightly off course seem not so bad. It undermines the intensity of any squabble because you know that in time this too shall pass.
In our frenzied flustered state as present-day humans, we can all too easily mistake our lack of patience for a catastrophe. Conflicts can seem much bigger when we feed them our attention. When we focus on the problem in front of us rather than the vision beyond the present, then we find it difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
This is a great strategy for long term relationship success; have a common vision for your future. How you arrive at your goals may be debatable, but when you reach what would otherwise feel like impenetrable barriers—you will find that your power to overcome even the biggest of obstacles is totally attainable. A big vision gives your big power. Having no vision gets you lost.