I saw this on my Pinterest feed a few days ago and it made me think about obstacles in relationships.
I think that obstacles can serve two purposes in a relationship:
- To spur growth between the people in the relationship - as they overcome obstacles, they grow closer, build trust and have a strengthened bond.
- To weed out the uncommitted.
When I was married to a man, our first few years together were difficult. Not in a relationship sense, but financially.
We struggled to pay bills and had to get very creative. I learned how to cook, we began composting, he took our trash with him to his office dumpster, we had rabbit ears that got us 3 TV channels and I went through my entire pregnancy in Georgia without air conditioning because the repair to our AC unit was too expensive.
These obstacles could have torn us apart and we could have blamed each other for not earning more money or spending wisely, but we faced our challenges together as a team and did some fantastic problem solving.
It felt like each time we solved a problem together, we began to develop a deep and abiding trust. He kept his promises to me and I grew to know him as a man of his word. I knew that he always had my best interest at heart as much as he knew I had his.
We were together for 23 years - until I came out as a lesbian and needed to take my own journey without him.
Today, we are friends and will always have fond memories of the life that we built together. We are our children's parents and will always have a friendship that has survived the trauma that coming out later in life can bring.
Weeding Out the Uncommitted
Unlike my ex-husband, who was willing to be solidly on my team and committed to the core, you may find yourself with a "partner" who is anything but a partner.
My ex-husband rarely made me feel like he wasn't on my side. In fact, the times where he solidly took my side are the times I remember that I loved him the most.
An uncommitted person will act like they are on an opposing team when you must face an obstacle. You hope they will be your ally - a person to go to that will help and offer advice and support.
An uncommitted person will rarely tackle a problem with you. They avoid being involved and leave it to you to solve. You may be attacked and blamed and the conflict may then be used as an excuse to alert you to your other failings as a human being.
(If you don't know what it's like to be kicked while you're down, these types of partners will gladly teach you.)
If you have a partner who uses obstacles to show you where you are weak, blames you for the obstacle, refuses to acknowledge the obstacle (especially if it comes from their sphere) and/or gets tired of "dealing" with it, please know that I am so sorry for you.
These people are "relationship lazy" - they love it when everything is going well, but they don't want to be a part of the work that it takes to maintain a good one.
Like everything else, things that are not maintained usually start to fall apart. When they do, these people walk out looking for greener pastures (new partners).
Let these people go.
Do not fight to keep them in your life. They will always want to flee in order to avoid doing the work of maintaining a relationship. The blame game is the only one that they know how to play.
Instead, look for the people who wouldn't even consider using obstacles as a time to vent or tell you what about you angers them, kicking you when you are down.
You want someone who can communicate in a mature way, without feeling the need to blame or name-call; someone who can set aside their emotions for a moment in order to look for solutions that build relationship trust in the process.
If you are lucky enough to find someone like that, don't YOU be the dumb-ass that is too lazy to maintain it. You hold on to and care for that person like they are the best thing that ever happened to you. Because, more than likely, they are.