What do you think? Are healthy relationships a myth, an ideal, or achievable?
What ARE healthy relationships, anyway?
No decent novel anywhere–ever–features a protagonist with ideal relationships. Think of it. How many of us would have continued reading if Elizabeth Bennet reserved judgement and Darcy began in humility? Or if Pip and Estella spent their lives together in wedded bliss?
We all have drama. It plays with our souls, hinders us from our goals, and leaves us feeling like life is just a series of paying tolls.
(yes, silly rhyme intended)
At some point, though, we get to the point in our lives–just as in fiction–that conflict and drama forces our character to develop. We need to face our internal antagonist. Reckon with the bastard. Make the tough choice.
That point is our “Come to Jesus” point. That is when we realize our failures, internal and external, and take responsibility for them. Either we flail, wither and die, or seize the power of God to buoy us in our weakness and rise up to take the required heroic action.
Okay, you say, personal redemption. But what does that have to do with healthy relationships?
Everything, I say.
Because we simply can’t truly love until we recognize our own vulnerabilities, weaknesses and failures, take responsibility for them, and get the help we need to press forward, to develop, mature and live in humility and respect. We can’t expect healthy relationships with anyone until we develop a healthy relationship with ourselves. And a healthy relationship with ourselves is a humble one, in which the Higher Power is the One that loves, that forgives, that empowers. At least that’s the only way I’ve ever found. Maybe you have another experience?
Healthy relationships are real, but they are not always ideal. We don’t always get to see them in action, because they’re far more boring than novels and movies. They are the relationships that provide a listening ear, a loving massage for sore muscles, a meal for a hungry stomach at the end of an ordinary day, and help with the dishes. They also talk through their conflicts and commit to finding acceptable compromises and mutual support. They bear with one another, sometimes for years on end, believing and hoping and praying for what’s needed. Sometimes they never see it come to fruition, but they grow to love one another even more through it. But sometimes they part ways with irreconcilable differences and needs.
Yes. Sometimes the healthiest choice for a relationship is distance. Maybe for a time, maybe for good. Because sometimes the conflict is just too difficult to resolve. Healthy relationships don’t force compatibility where there is none. They learn to accept and respect their differences, but choose to put away the practice of rubbing one another’s wounds with abrasive expectation that they meet one another’s idea of what they should be, or need them, to be.
Tell us. Does any of this resonate with you? Have you ended up choosing distance in a relationship that just didn’t work well? Have you learned to resolve conflict and mend an unhealthy relationship? Did years of separation from a loved one result in mutual growth and reconnection? Has God buoyed your flailing spirit and carried you into a healthier relationship with yourself? Share it here in the comments, please do! Or link to where you’ve blogged about such an experience so we can go read it on your spot.
If you need a little help getting started or progressing on the journey (and who doesn’t), click here for a guided journal, and let us know how it helped.
Now it’s your turn: