Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Strangest of Creatures

The Relationship Monster!

There is a strange creature, born in an instant, that grows and evolves forever.  It's genuinely bizarre.

Before the creature exists, the two gametes circle each other briefly, but when they finally touch ... they connect, and birth is almost instantaneous.

From the first moment, the mutual hosts begin to make connections.  They nervously select a potential connection point to try from a list of thousands.  Each success gives them courage to attempt another.  With deliberate choice and time, the connections will become a structural bond, strong beyond imagining, continually forming and reaching for more.

Each connection succeeds or fails.  Some are more important than others.  If too many important ones fail, the creature dies.

That's the way our heart works, and this strange creature ... is the relationship between two; two friends, two strangers, two soldiers at the front, or a pair of high school teens falling in love.  A meaningful relationship begins with a connection or two, perhaps a shared interest or common circumstance.  Being in the same foxhole is a good start for some.

The strength of a relationship grows by choices, values, and actions over time.  The one who labors to understand you and who works with you rather than in competition against you will be the durable friend, the long-term relationship.

The relationship that fails doesn't do so suddenly. Most often, it's many issues of disconnect, different values, priorities, concerns long left unresolved. We talk about having a different heart than they ... or maybe no 'chemistry'.   Perhaps it's my choices rather than our choices along the way.

The workings of relationship are beautifully visible in families.  Husbands - wives - children - extended family, the quality of each relationship will reflect the choices to connect and endure.

The teen transition years are an (almost) humorous look at how relationships evolve.  It's a furiously high-speed change from dependent child to independent adult, and all the connections have to be carefully disassembled and reassembled. Both parent and teen have difficulties to work through.

Why evolve?  Children have decisions made for them. Pre-teens and teens have to make so, so many decisions, but the coach on the sidelines still has a say.  Making the change while preserving the relationship can be difficult for all involved.  Tense times.

A few among many well-worn phrases that come to mind:
  • The relationship is more important than the issue (when disagreements happen)
  • Don't burn your bridges (when one pulls away)
  • Listen a lot (rather than talk louder)
  • Understand the goals, and that winning the argument isn't one of them!
  • It takes two, and how can two walk together unless they be agreed ...
  • Two are better than one for when one falls, the other will pick them up ...
The connections are what binds one to another.  It seems that each connection is important and each failed connection carries a measure of risk.

It's a natural process that just happens but it includes deliberate awareness and choice.  You can hear the details in the narrative provided by children or adults as they describe their time with another.  Things that drew them closer or pushed them apart, connections made or broken.

Now we can perhaps begin to see what 'two becoming one' is about.  Shared goals, shared values, shared priorities, all are established and agreed deliberately, not by chance.  There isn't any chance that any two will have all those things at the beginning.  The connections are established and maintained by deliberate agreement and choice, day after day, issue after issue, walking ever closer together through life.

Every relationship is important.  Every chance to graciously include someone else in your world is worth the price. With family, and especially when it comes to our children, it is perhaps the best opportunity we have for a meaningful life. Among such lofty goals, a husband and wife who love so genuinely as to become one, well, that's perhaps the best of it all.

That's the way it works; hope you like it.