When Relationships Get Stuck

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There’s no worse feeling than the feeling that your relationship is stuck in a rut. Its like having your car stuck in the mud but no matter how hard you turn your wheels it feels like you only are getting deeper and deeper into a muddy abyss.

What’s worse is when you realize that there were signs that you avoided that caused you to fall into the pit, and then it dawns upon you. This is totally my fault. Why didn’t I listen to my friends, my family and even my own voice.

One of the biggest flaws people make in their relationships is that they are so wrapped up in “love or lust” that they forget an important thing, direction. Many relationships have no bigger purpose other than being together. The problem that comes with this mentality is that eventually the high of the love loses its luster leading you to ask this question, “what am I doing with this person”? We are two different people, with totally different values, and clueless on where to go from here. We are in a rut, and what’s worse is that my partner doesn’t even notice it. The other partner feels like things are still honkey dorey. This frustrates you even more, because you wonder how someone who is supposed to love you can be so oblivious, or so callous to your wants, goals and desires.

When God made men and women he designed us to be similar and yet distinct at the same time. We were made to be compliments to one another. The beautiful thing though is that when together there would be a synergy to where when put together the whole would be more than the sum of its parts. Children are a perfect example of this, one person meets with another person, and they produce something greater than both of them, a child.  Children then become a force that bonds the new family unit together.

I want to take a step back though, because though I think children are important, I’m not just writing about children I’m talking about production.I’m talking about dreams I’m talking about life. What is the bigger vision that you as a couple want to produce that you can’t necessarily do by yourself. You see when God designed women he knew that the man was deficient in some areas, and would not be able to fulfill his destiny without her. So when two individuals decide to become a couple, they should really understand that their is latent power among them that if tapped into can spur them unto unimaginable heights.

This is why it’s so important that before a couple marries they consider their future, goals, and values.

This is why Paul one of the churches greatest minds, talks about the principle of not being unequally yoked. To be yoked means to be bound together. In its specific context it was the metaphor of two oxen who where hooked to gather by the neck. Amazingly, when you connect two oxen to a plow who were going in the same direction, the synergy they created allowed them to produce more then what either of them could do by themselves. The power of the yoke only works when the oxen are both heading in the same direction together. If you tried to yoke an ox with a chicken you may have a great dinner, but no real work would be done. It simply wouldn’t work. So to be unequally yoked means to be hooked and tied to partner who is not really heading or willing to go in the same direction. If you have someone who has totally different values, who has a totally different outlook on life why would you bind yourself together with them.  When you have two people going in two totally different directions guess what happens to the bond.? It breaks and falls apart.

The prophet Amos echoes this fact as well when he asks the question, “Can two walk together unless they are agreement”. What is the glue that is holding your relationship together? Too many times we choose the weakest cord to bind our relationships together, and that cord is physical attraction. It looks strong in the beginning but eventually it exposes itself as nothing more than gum, sweet at first, but loses flavor and strength over time.

I was aware of this principal when I decided to get married, so when I was looking for a wife I was looking for someone who shared the most important values of myself; a belief and love for God and love for God’s word and God’s people.

It is my personal belief that a couple without God no matter how great the other elements in their relationship is really doing themselves a great disservice; they are disconnecting themselves from their purpose, and the source of life. Those families that then choose to raise their children without the knowledge of God are only magnifying that error.

However for the sake of those who may not believe in God the principal of sharing the same values, goals and dreams is still critical for our relationships. What’s just as critical, though is not just someone who shares your values, but someone who supports and encourages you to fulfill your dreams.

Going back to the prophet Amos’ question, Can two walk together unless they be agreed. Sometimes you may not necessarily share the same beliefs on everything, but if you can agree that you will support your partner and encourage them to be all that God has made them to be, and push them to fulfill their dreams that can be a great blessing to the relationship.

So I can hear someone saying, well what do I do if my partner doesn’t support me, or has different values?

My answer will always begin with having a conversation with your partner. I believe every relationship needs to have periodic check ups. How are we doing? Where are we going? What is our vision for our finances? health? children? friendships? work? church? serving?sex life? future?

We need to have these conversations and come to an agreement about direction. After you have this discussion and you feel like you can’t come to agreement, based upon the seriousness of your relationship you should consider whether you should stay together. If you are just dating, I would seriously consider ending the romantic relationship and decided to keep a friendship if possible. If you are married, then that’s a little different. I’d recommend counseling, or going to a marriage conference, marriage class or seminar to get some outside help. Rarely if ever would I advocate for divorce because marriage is supposed to be for life, and scripture only allows for a few grounds for divorce the biggest one being infidelity.

This is why its so important to have the same values because you want to prevent from even getting in that predicament. Relationships are hard and require lots of work and lots of communication. Some of the things that have held my wife and I together during difficult times is that we have shared the same value that divorce is not an option, but also the fact that we have agreed to submit to the same authority; the Bible. Therefore if one of us is doing something contrary to our values they have a legitimate ground for saying, see you agreed to this, and you are not following it, let’s get back on track. Also we have people who share the same values as us who can hold us accountable and speak into our lives, whether that be a pastor,other close friends, or a counselor.

Relationships can get stuck in the mud, and often they lose their traction. That’s why couples need to find a source outside of themselves to help them when they get stuck. Sometimes the tires need a smooth source to gain traction and pull them out of the mud. As a couple you must identify that. I recommend the Bible and a good church, as great tools to help when you find your wheels sinking or just spinning without any change. Even though you may not believe in him God is there and has given us tools for healthy relationships. For those of you who are believers prayer is a great great tool as well.

Its time for us to get out of the pit, and out of the mud, there are great destinations in store. Use these times in the mud to reevaluate and where you are going. I’ll pray for you as you pray for me. Be blessed.

The Herald

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