Healthy versus Anesthetizing Relationships
"So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect [or mature] in their relationship to Christ. That's why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ's mighty power that works within me."1
For a number of years I have worked and taught in the area of "Divorce and Grief Recovery." With divorcees we emphasize the importance of not getting into another committed relationship too soon; that is, not before resolving the grief and loss of their divorce—and even more important, not before facing and resolving the character issues that led them to be attracted to the person they married and separated from.
Time and again I have seen divorcees ignore this advice, and before long they are going through a second and sometimes a third divorce. The same can happen to widows and widowers who re-marry too soon.
True, there is nothing like romance to anesthetize the pain caused by the loss of a love and, like a drug, blind one to reality. People who use romance and/or sex to avoid facing their reality and deaden their pain, fail to see that while romance can lead to love, romance in and of itself is not love. Neither is sex. Romance can be triggered by physical and sexual attraction, by being over-needy, or by the magnetic pull of one’s neuroses (unresolved character issues).
The fact is that we are as sick (or as healthy) as the people (especially in romantic relationships) we are attracted to. We need to realize that what we fail to resolve we are destined to repeat. For instance, an over-dependent person will most likely be attracted to a codependent partner and vice versa. A weak, passive person will be attracted to a domineering and controlling partner and vice versa. A woman who had a bad relationship with her father is just as likely to be attracted to a man just like her father—and relate to him in exactly the same way as she did to her father. Or a man who had a bad relationship with his mother will likely be attracted to a woman just like his mother and repeat that bad relationship.
And the divorcee who fails to resolve his or her character issues will, in all probability, be attracted to the same kind of person they just divorced. The reality is that, before we can have healthy relationships, we need to be healthy, for only healthy and mature people find and make healthy and mature relationships.
And maturity is what God’s Word (as seen in today's Scripture) encourages every one of us to become.
Furthermore, we strongly encourage all couples, whether or not they have been married before, to have in-depth pre-marriage counseling before they get married to ensure that they are suitable for each others, as feelings can come and go and be up and down like a yo-yo.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, help me to see the causes in me that contributed to my failed relationship/s, and to find the help I need to resolve these issues so that I will become, not only mature in my relationship to Jesus Christ, but also in my relationships to others. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
Note: In our next three Daily Encounters we will discuss some of the key characteristics of maturity.
1. Colossians 1:28-29 (NLT)