By Reydon Stanford
Problems that result from relationships have the potential to be extremely distressing; due to the amount of importance they
play within our lives as a society and the emotional investments we make into them. Relationships are an important part
of healthy human existence and let's face it...we were born into relationships. It was through a relationship that we
were conceived, carried and birthed.
are an important part of our development having direct links to our security, growth, physical and emotional well-being, livelihood
and spiritual, physical and emotional health. As a society we are dynamically linked to other people and require relationship
to prosper. Although some people like to think of themselves as "ruggedly individual," without much need for
help from others, this is a fallacy that can easily be exposed. In short...we need others to thrive, succeed, prosper,
reproduce and be happy. Just to put a cotton shirt upon our backs takes a great number of people working together from
the farmer who planted the seed, to the gin that processes the cotton to the factory that turns cotton into material, to the
trucker who transports it to the factory where it will be dyed and sown into a shirt, to the person who purchases the shirt
and then has it transported again to a store where someone sells it to us for about twenty bucks...whew. We need each
Relationships have the potential to bring
us great joy and fulfillment or great pain and disappointment. If you've lived very long at all, you've probably experienced
This article is meant to explore some of the dynamics of relationships and why we often suffer when they
It has been my own experience and observation that the number one problem in relationships is IGNORANCE.
We are not born, (nor usually schooled), in the dynamics of healthy relationships so we enter into them blindly, ignorant
of what we need out of a healthy relationship or how to provide what is needed from others. This is like asking someone
to take-off and land an aircraft with no previous training. Not a good idea. In all honesty, if I had my wish, everyone
would be required to take relationship classes throughout school. I truly believe this would improve such situations
as bullying, verbal abuse, racism and so forth and even turn the tide of failed marriages that are prevalent within our society.
of the "Ignorance Factor" in relationships, we often see two very good people fail to successfully maintain a growing,
healthy, and prosperous relationship. This is sad, since simple training could greatly improve the odds.
drawn to relationships through mutual attraction. In intimate-driven relationships we are drawn through deep attraction
and a desire to be solely involved with the other person. In friendships we are drawn by mutual interests and a need
to have like-minded companionship. In family relationships we are engaged through love, loyalty and belonging. In short,
we each have a desire to feel a sense of belonging among our peers, family and intimate relationships. When that falters...emotional
and mental pain result and usually leads to bouts of depression, anxiety and stress that will ultimately take its toll upon
our physical health.
COMMON CAUSES OF RELATIONSHIP PROBLEMS
Ignorance: As I stated earlier, most people are not trained to understand the
dynamics of relationships and therefore either do the wrong things or nothing.
Poor Communication Skills: Communication is the primary way we express our
own thoughts and feelings and come to an understanding of the thoughts and feelings of others. If this dynamic breaks
down, trouble results. It is impossible for us to read the minds of others, or for others to read our minds. Many
relationships are destroyed through bad communication. (More on this later).
Uncontrolled Emotions: Many relationships fail because of uncontrolled emotions.
Nobody wants to live in a volatile environment where fear, anger, continual sadness, or abuse occurs. We cannot expect
others to control OUR emotions. "If you do what I say, I won't get mad!" That kind of statement reveals
a very immature and very insecure person who expects others to control their emotions. This leaves people "walking
on eggshells" and usually results in a quick and ultimate termination of the relationship, because it becomes mentally
and emotionally unbearable.
On some occasions, people simply become disengaged from a relationship for various reasons. The inability to maintain
more than one friendship for example can leave an "old friend" out in the cold as the person moves onto someone
else. Anytime someone disengages from a relationship it leaves people hurting and confused and can ultimately result
in the end of the relationship.
•5. The Selfish
Ego: It's hard for most people to believe that there are those who enter into relationships solely
for what it provides to them. The ego can be a strong force and when it is stroked, it makes people with low self-esteem
feel good. The problem with ego is that it can become like a drug, feeding off the people around it without giving anything
meaningful in return. Many marriages and other relationships end when a person who is addicted to ego-thrills becomes
bored with their current relationships and move onto something that feels new and exciting and strokes the ego afresh.
It's heartbreaking...it's sad...and it's reality.
When two people get together it is because they are attracted to one another as one individual to another. In the case
of a typical relationship, a man becomes attracted to a woman, and a woman becomes attracted to a man. Sadly, when these
relationships develop into marriage or shared parenthood, the two people often allow the "manly" or "womanly"
role to die off and trade it for the title of "Wife, Husband, Mother and Father." Although these roles have
their place...they DO NOT nor should not replace the individual needs of a man or woman. A man has unique needs and
a woman has unique needs. Simply believing that entering into the roles of marriage or parenthood meets all these needs
is an often tragic mistake. Regardless of marital status...a man is still a man...a woman is still a woman and both
have dynamic needs that often get lost in the role-playing of modern societies relationships.
Excessive Outside Influences: Many relationships fall victim to outside influences
that often exceed proper boundaries and that problem is very unhealthy. Too much interference from parents, grandparents,
co-workers, friends, etc., can permanently ruin an otherwise good relationship. While it is true the Bible says, "Children
obey your parents," I would like to draw attention the word ‘Children.' Once we are grown we are to LEAVE
our mother and father and cleave unto our spouse. If a couple needs to seek wise counsel, it is better to do so through
a counselor or third party who is unlikely to take sides without knowing all the details. With that being said, if a
couple keeps seeking advice (or more likely Allies), from friends or family, they shouldn't be shocked when they get advice
that is counterproductive, or infuriates the spouse, leaving them feeling ‘ganged up on' and very angry.
Unresolved Conflict: One of the first things I learned in counseling is "Empathetic
Hearing." This is the ability to ‘hear' how someone is feeling, versus what they are saying. Most people
are not communication experts and do not express their true feelings very well. This can result in issues becoming arguments
with no resolution, rather than intimate times of communication and caring that produces greater love, correction and lasting
change. If a wife, (for example), tells her husband she feels neglected, and is tired of him playing golf, he will often
get defensive and then the ‘fight is on.' Instead, he should listen to what she is REALLY saying, which is: "I
miss you and need you and want to spend more time with you." Leaving any hurt feelings unresolved leads to bitterness.
Bitterness, over a long period of time, will shut down a person's emotions and love, and can end with a final separation.
If you simply cannot resolve the issues on your own...seek counseling. It is a wise person who seeks answers to what
they do not know.
As you can tell, I did not address issues such as: cheating, adultery, flirting,
pornography, and a variety of other issues that might seem like huge problems in a relationship. The reason for that
is this: If we pay attention to building a healthy relationship, with deep love, continued desire, mutual respect and
hard work...these issues rarely happen. I once asked a friend, "How do you deal with the weeds in your yard?"
His response was classic: "I grow good grass." If we want a healthy, happy relationship...we need to
focus on doing the right things and what is good, rather than continually focusing upon the weeds.