In the early days of marriage, I had something wrong. Can you believe it?? Leah, print this out!! It’s the same illusion that many of us have to one degree or another. It seems to make sense in light of taking vows, getting serious about this one relationship, two becoming one, etc, etc, etc… As a pastor passing out marital advice to a young couple it’s one of many things to bring up.
When Leah and I were first married I suffered under the delusion that this really meant that the relationship between us was to be what we both needed most and every other relationship was just nice, but not really rising to the level of priority. We had a child in the first 11 months, we moved to a new place, our home life demanded a lot of attention and other relationships felt like work outside of the easy fun of a smiling baby!!
As time marched on Leah wanted to go visit family. While that was all well and good, in my mind I thought her family was too enmeshed( as opposed to my family that lives more on the opposite side of the spectrum). I also began to realize a stay at home mom has less opportunity for adult conversation than me being at church and coaching at school. Leah wanted some friend time… but wasn’t I enough??!!! Mostly I thought that because Leah being out meant me with a crying child!! Truthfully the correct answer to that question has moved from being a burden to being a freedom.
All of this for me was a combination of selfishness, not realizing the adult time I got verses the little time Leah got. But in the end after great thought about all of it, I realized that there isn’t just one relationship priority in each of our lives, there are many. Seniors with experience, peers to share life, crazy person just to keep things light, parents to finally ask questions of after we found out we didn’t know so much, siblings that care for us beyond our recognition, bosses that inspire, neighbors from whom we borrow a post hole digger. We need a strategic thinking relationship to solve a problem, a spiritual friend to lead us to God from whom all things flow and a person just to sit and watch the sunset. We need an accountant, mechanic, artist and someone to tell us the blunt truth. We need people who know the song of our life, who are kind enough to remind us of the words when time and events cause us to forget.
Now often times, several of these might be wrapped up into one. My spouse is the most important of all, but as the yearly birthday count stacks up, I realize more and more these other relationships are exceptionally important in our development as people.
In our recent trouble with social distancing, we discover how much many people really mean to us, what it’s like to be cut off from so many who add so much to our life. You don’t know what you have until it is no more. You become more aware that the strength of fabric is that each strand is woven together to hold fast in a multiplied might that each individual could never know individually. There is a curious balance between being strong on your own, being strong in Christ and being strong collectively as a body.
The Bible tells us to live in the “One Anothers” Love one another, honor, serve, be devoted to, cherish, live in harmony with, build up, be patient with, forgive, teach, comfort, encourage, speak the truth to, pray for, confess to, be humble with, show hospitality to, should I go on?????
We’re all in need of many facets in our world of relationships. Invest in as wide a variety as you can, be blessed as you are a blessing! And I can’t wait to be back collectively!