Growing through conflict

Successful marriages relationships

Successful marriages must realise that when there is a disconnect between the expected behaviour and day to day actions and practices in a relationship, the downhill trigger is initiated.

Photo credit: AFP Image Forum

We live in a world that is conflicted in every sense of the word. However, a family foundation that is based on a holistic value system will determine the stability and endurance of their relationships. When one considers how different we are from the other, we come to appreciate both the beauty and complexity of relationships.

In addition, think with me concerning the stability of a house. We have to appreciate that a house built on the rock will withstand the wrath of the fiercest of storms because of its foundation. Whether in a marriage, family or neighbourhood, our fellowship depends on our connection. How do we link our core value systems as individuals? Values will become the bedrock that gives the house its stability. It is therefore true to say that our connection cannot survive where our value system conflicted.

Setting the foundation

In building a house, the stability of a house depends on the materials mixed and used in setting the foundation.  If these materials are not mixed in the right ratios, the building will eventually collapse. So, in relationships, it is no longer just about whether one has values, but whether those values blend well to create a strong merger area or area of agreement. In a marriage, you could be the truthful one. However, truth without empathy and wisdom could be dangerous. That is why speaking the truth in love is essential. Therefore, who you marry is as important as the mannerisms and habits they carry along into the relationship.

A relationship matures where the values we bring and embed into the relationship and the kind of relational environment we allow in the home plays a major role. As a result, your relationship is as good as the values and the environment you entertain in the home. This means that we get into the habit of allowing others to share their strife without judgment from another. When we choose to respond with grace and kindness, it becomes possible to present truth in a manner that will be received well.

If only we embedded values like kindness, peace, faithfulness, respect and tolerance in relating to each other, the authenticity of our connection will be high. In addition, taming the environment in which we relate will deepen our intimacy and ability to hear and respond to each other with grace. Sadly, today’s relationships are characterised by negativity that deprives the relationship of its potential. Investigating the kind of partners we pick and why we pick them speaks to the quality and longevity of the relationship. In fact, a lack of skilfulness in relating could equally hurt the relationship. Marital storms are no respecter of the years two people have been married. Since evil has no boundaries, how get prepared to face the storms will either mature or tear down the relationship.

Strong personal values

When we embrace lies and manipulation, we may get a temporary sense of identity and belonging which will not stand the test of time. Our desire should be to have strong personal values based on integrity and a good character. The values one holds will influence how they relate with others and more so, their decision making process.

A false world-view of negative beliefs, habits and practices can become a stronghold for either or both spouse in a relationship. Consequently, if we don't embrace good values, our behaviour will be compromised thereby destroying our authentic connection. As a result, each couple must decide on the issues that drives and guarantees their fulfilment and satisfaction?

Successful marriages must realise that when there is a disconnect between the expected behaviour and day to day actions and practices in a relationship, the downhill trigger is initiated. When one spouse or both choose to compromise or become hypocritical, the family code of conduct is violated. When this happens, they cannot govern their behaviour and habits, thereby negatively impacting the future of the relationship. Strenuous situations like retrenchment that came to many during the highest peak of Covid strained relationships.

Looking back at the year 2007, the election then made us see many spouses struggle to keep their unity because of holding differing views on politics. Tassiello, a New York City therapist in a recent article says, “Whether it’s emotional, psychological, financial, or physical, if it affects us, it affects our relationships.”

As a result, many people have to look for opportunities to learn how to relate through difficult circumstances or even restructure their priorities and needs in light of the new reality. While many have walked through conflicting moments to later find a level of satisfaction in the way they relate, others have stagnated of fallen apart. In conflicting moments we have to avoid being dragged towards total or lack of effective communication that normally degenerates into disaffection.

Develop empathy

On the flip side we need to take advantage of such conflicting moments to develop empathy, understanding and patience.

This last few years have seen Covid 19 prompting job losses and  election fever birthing great stressful moments to our relationships not to mention the sky-rocketing inflation. This stressful season complicated by the hard economic times have continued on a trend of ushering in an ever changing and challenging environment that calls on each spouse to reorganise themselves for a better future. Growing together, therefore, calls for new perspectives on how we see and interpret things around us and learn to relate and handle each other better.

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