Once misconception my husband and I often face is the accusation you're the perfect couple. No. We are not. No one is. We are a real couple with real problems struggling with our relationship just like everyone else- the only difference is, we are 'doing the work'. Let me share a bracing dose of reality- relationships- all relationships- are work. Listening to the brokenhearted, I shared a glimpse of my plan of work when relationships are in distress.
I sit down in a peaceful place with a cup of coffee and a notebook. With a deep breath and a heartfelt prayer, I begin 'doing the work'.
*Listen. What is the other person saying? Often there are recurring statements, or phrases, being said giving us a place to start. I have to stop myself and really listen and recall what the person is saying.
*Realize. What the other person is saying is their perspective on the situation. I may not agree with it or even like it, but I cannot deny them their view or understanding. For me, this is a difficult and vital task that must be done before I can move forward.
*Face the facts: I can only change me. It isn't my place or my job to change anyone. I don't have that authority; I don't have the power or the control. Understanding this truth helps me gain proper perspective before any action is taken.
*Plan the progress. Once I have written what the other person is saying in my notebook, and realized their perspective, faced the fact I am the one I am responsible for.. then it is time to make a plan. What can I do to give them a new or better perspective of things? Writing it down helps me stay accountable and reminds me the priorities I need to address.
*Do it. Once the plan is written, it's time to prayerfully proceed striving to change my part of the relationship for the better.
One last thing I always consider- is this relationship worth the work? Sometimes relationships pass their season in our lives and need to be let go of in order to prevent destructive results. If a relationship is starting to feel destructive, or if it seems to be dragging me toward negative or hurtful habits it might be time to either set some healthy boundaries or let it fade.
When brokenhearted souls cross my path they are first and foremost in my prayers. Having struggles of my own gives me deep compassion for those who are struggling. Sharing my story is never intended to be 'the way' to solve anything, but is offered as encouragement; a springboard for their own planning and seeking. Tonight, dear friends, you are in my prayers.