I wish I were better at relationships. Really, I do.
The more I get involved with people on a deep level, the more I realize how broken I am. I am finding out just how difficult it is to “be the person that the person you are looking for is looking for.” As soon as I hit this stride where I feel like I am making a positive impact in the lives of the people I love, this sludge from the abyss of my heart rises to the surface out of what appears to be nowhere. Though, if I am honest, those issues have always been there, it just takes a certain kind of divinely appointed individual to bring them out and stick around with you as you act like a fool, repent, and try again.
I want to be a better future husband.
Putting two people together who struggle with their own set of destructive tendencies is the nature of relationship. Dating, sex, and marriage are idealized in the media. Couples put their “best” on Facebook. Hollywood portrays relationships as either a) perfect or b) completely terrible. It is often not the case that the media shares with us – commoners, if you will – that relationships are difficult. It is not often that we hear about relationships taking work to make them good. It is not often that relationships are marketed as a commitment to another individual rather than a feeling.
Relationships are hard.
In order for the grace of God to be at work in a relationship centered on Him, we need to come to terms with the fact that relationships are about commitment, hard work, and choice-filled love. Relationships are hard because they require you to give up your pride and put on a type of humility that exposes your most fundamental weaknesses. Relationships are hard because what we experience in them is completely different than what we were taught about them all of our lives. Relationships are hard because love is more than a feeling, it is the constant choice to put her (or his) needs above your own.
Relationships are hard, and so is your head.
The central problem in relationships is not the other person, it’s you. You are the central reason why you have relational issues. You are prideful, so you never admit fault. You are prideful, so you never accept apologies. You are prideful, so you never ask for forgiveness. You are prideful, so you pass the blame on to the one that you love. You are prideful, so you reject everything you just read because “it doesn’t apply to you.”
You are prideful, that is why relationships are hard.
I, too, am prideful. I care so much more about me, my wants, my desires than I do about the one that I love. But wait a minute… do I really? I know that I really care about the one that I love. I want, more than anything, to satisfy her needs above my own.
Why the heck do I do the opposite of what it is that I want to, and know I should, do?
It’s because I am prideful. I am so prideful that I cannot admit my weakness. I am so prideful that I cannot admit the fact that I need help. I am so prideful that I cannot weep over my brokenness when maybe that is the only correct response. I am so prideful that I recognize everything I do right and very little that I do wrong. I am so prideful that I take the speck out of another’s eye before I even notice the log in my own.
Relationships are hard, but they are also the most life-giving, joy-producing, character-refining interaction you could ever enter into. We were built to be in relationship, especially romantic relationships. God created us with that innate desire. He made us to glorify Him and experience eternal joy in the wonderful presence of a companion, teammate, and lover.
No matter how hard relationships are, we were built to be in them. No matter how hard relationships are, we were built to endure the difficulty. No matter how hard relationships are, we were built to choose to love even when everything within us tells us not to.
Relationships are hard, your head is hard, but our God is good, and he can turn a hard head and a hard heart, into an entity filled with His Spirit that pours out love in the name of Christ to every relationship that surrounds you.
Love with the love of Jesus.
Endure with the endurance of Jesus.
Persevere with the perseverance of Jesus.
Humble yourselves with the humility of Jesus.
Relationships are hard, but there is hope in Christ to make them the best experience you could ever have.
I’m really, really, bad at being humble. Lord, break me and bring the pain! I want to be refined!