Help! My Relationship has Issues!

Filed in Relationships by on September 4, 2013 0 Comments

For this month, we are going to a bit of a different format. We are going to start a series of blogs for the month. The theme this month is Relationship Building. The first topic I want to address is relationship issues.

Couple butting heads, relationship issues, 9tenets.comThe term, ‘issues,’ in the context of relationships is a colloquialism for challenges and/or obstacles one is trying to overcome. Everyone is going to have issues in their relationships. We are not perfect. We are broken individuals to an extent and imperfect people will make imperfect relationships.

Although imperfect relationships are a fact of life, you want to be aware that challenges are opportunities. It’s simply how we choose to look at them.

We must be aware that the best and strongest relationships are often the type of relationships where the couple had to overcome some very challenging issues. It’s never going to be easy, hard work is always going to be involved. If we are committed to our relationships, then not only is the work a requirement, but it should be a willing sacrifice to better strengthen the relationship.

Let’s look at three ways to deal with issues in every relationship:

Trust

We’re not putting these in any particular order, but for this first one, if you don’t have trust, you don’t have much of a committed relationship.

The beauty of a relationship, in all of its dysfunctional characteristics which may occur from time to time, is that if you each trust the other, you can work through anything. I can’t stress this enough. Going back to the fact that we are fallible people makes everyone capable of messing up. I’m not simply talking about cheating, since that’s what we all think of when we talk about messing up. I’m talking about things like mismanaging family finances, not completing a task for your spouse that you said you would, or treating a step-child like a stranger at times.

These are places where the lack of trust one spouse may have in another is intensified. I can’t tell you to stop making mistakes. It’s not going to happen; it’s a waste of ink on the page. What I can share is this: you have to do what you say you are going to do. And THAT is something you can control.

You have to follow through on what you say you plan to do. If you are the household accountant, then you have to reconcile the checkbook. If you are the new parent with a child coming into the blended family and you make a commitment to treat that child as your own, you have to do it (raising children is difficult and everyone has their own style—I’m talking about making the effort—not style of parenting).

Trust can be either earned or given, but once you lose one’s trust you may not be able to regain it. Don’t allow it to go this far. Trust is a requirement in any committed relationship. Issues will occur, but if you trust each other, they are much easier to overcome.

Addressing the Issue

Too often in relationships, things come up that we don’t want to deal with and we try to bury our heads in the sand. The method of ignoring issues doesn’t work. We have to be willing to deal with whatever comes.

There are some tough challenges in relationships. For example, we can experience trust issues as we mentioned before, disrespectful children, illness, tragedy, disillusionment within the relationship, addiction, loss of attraction, the list can go on and on. The most important thing with any issue (in any facet of life) is how you deal with the issue.

First, you have to acknowledge the issue. Loneliness, depression, not being satisfied with career, etc., whatever the issue, you have to say out loud this is an issue. The second step is to address the issue. This means to discuss it with your spouse. Talk it out. Don’t avoid the issue. Don’t play quiet mouse because one or the other is upset and won’t talk about it. Time doesn’t heal all wounds; it only covers them to raise them again with more deep-seeded anger than before if they weren’t resolved.

Finally, you have to work through it. That means construct a plan and take action on the plan. Action could be prayer (and my PSA for today is that it should OFTEN be prayer). Action could be sitting down with family members or co-workers. Action could be developing a budget and putting it on paper. Whatever the issue is, allowing it to marinate in its own juices only makes the issue stronger and more powerful. Take the power away from the issue by controlling the situation and addressing the issue upfront, as a couple, as soon as we recognize the issue.

Love

It’s cliché to say ‘Love conquers all’ but … it really does. Love in this context includes compassion, patience, contentment, understanding and selflessness. We have to have all of those things in relationships. If you don’t have this collection of characteristics, you’re going to struggle before you ever get to the first issue. It’s more than ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ That’s scriptural and it’s correct, but a relationship has to be more than that.

Gold line, powerful wordsYou have to not only see the other person’s flaws, but you almost have to love the flaws themselves.

Flaws are what make people who they are. If we could build a perfect spouse, we would all do it, but we can’t. You have to love people through their mess. You have to deal with them through their mess. Love is a nice sounding word as a noun, but unless you use it as an action word, it’s meaningless. You have to trust and address the issue head-on, but ultimately, love is what will bring you through it all stronger and better than before.

If you have issues in your relationship, start with yourself and analyze the situation. Is this a trust issue? Do we trust one another? Do I trust him/her? Have we truly addressed the situation? Have I reached out to address the situation myself? Finally, have we loved each other as Christ has loved us? Have I loved my spouse unconditionally, sacrificially and whole-heartedly?

When you work through these questions and can answer each of those questions with an honest, “Yes,” you will find what was once “issues” were really obstacles that together you were able to overcome and come out on the other side stronger and better for it.

Jay Hurt © 2013

 

 

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