One man said of his marriage "I very distinctly remember our wedding day. As we unloaded the moving van into our little house, I said, 'Darling, this is your and my little world.'” Then he became pensive. “Problem is, we’ve been fighting for the world's championship ever since," he said.
One woman was tired of the marital conflict. "Why don't we just ask God to strike one of us dead tonight,” she suggested, “then this marriage would have peace at last.” After a moment she added, “And I could go live with my sister."
All relationships experience conflict. Marriages, friendships, parents and children. But too many beleaguered relationships suffer when well-meaning people are unable to resolve their differences. Their relationships dry up, become brittle and break apart like a old and valuable photograph left in the hot sun. A union that once seemed a work of art eventually resembles a discolored and crumbling canvass. Finding and restoring those pieces to anything attractive can be a near-impossible task.
And the amazing realization is this: the incidents that finally destroy a relationship are usually small and insignificant! Momentous decisions and huge obstacles generally don't pull people apart. Most people in committed relationships can stand united when disaster strikes. It is the little problems, the insignificant stressors, that do the most damage when allowed to fester.
Do you know what issue causes the greatest number of conflicts in households? According to a recent report, people argue most often about which television show or movie to watch. Would any couple or family have believed that the selection of television programs would become their major source of conflict?
Somewhere along the line we forget to just stop and ask ourselves what is important. Sometimes we just need to remember why we got together in the first place. And remember the difference between minor inconveniences and major issues. In short, we forget the basics. And we can end up paying a high price for our forgetfulness.
For healthy and satisfying relationships, it's vital to remember these simple basics:
- The people you love are more valuable than the things you own. Put them first.
- Most problems are just inconveniences. Let them go.
- Little things, if left unattended, will grow into big things. Working through conflicts are the dues we pay for long-lasting relationships.
- Treat love as if it’s fragile. Tend it and care for it. That love, properly nurtured, will grow into one of the strongest forces in your life.
Those are the basics. Simple, really. But they are the stuff satisfying relationships are made of.
-- Steve Goodier
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