During the early years together, little things that once ignited a flash of anger or grieved her heart would be communicated to her love, and a resolve would be sought. Likewise, he would strategically set aside time to voice his worries and concerns, and they would both develop solutions. But as the function of roles and expectations increased, the blur began, and collateral damage took grit. Hours overlapped into days, merging into weeks, and the routine of life became life. Points of tension that would have once niggled at her thoughts, and moments of stress that he would have once shared, get put onto the shelf of ‘don’t have time’. The weight of this shelf increases, bit by bit, and the tension to address ‘the little things’ morphs into ‘it will get better’. This way of thinking and doing leads to an inner resolve of ‘being content with discontent’.
This relationship dilemma is created by the push and pull of the squeaky toy wanting all the attention, versus the need to navigate the little things that pull at the heart strings and create a messy mind. Quite honestly this dilemma can rear its head in any relationship, because often we don’t realise that there is a ‘don’t have time shelf’ until we feel a trigger. This realisation can stop us in our tracks as we have to choose between raising a flag and seeking a resolve, or possibly negatively spinning the current vibe. All too often the fear of bringing something up from the past, that had been slotted into the space of discontent and then at some undefinable point moved into the space of content, often wages a war with ‘why upset the current status quo.’ This fear of the little things causing trouble overrides the need to take something off the shelf. When this way of thinking develops into a brain habit and a neural pathway is embedded, the mind has a way of consolidating ‘it makes sense to be content in the things that were once discontent’.
The problem with this way of doing relationship, is that when pressure builds, conflict arises, and relationship road blocks stamp their presence, then the ‘little things’ that had set themselves up for life on the shelf can often join forces and be dumped into the ‘now.’ The real issue with this occurring is that often these little things that had been consolidated as ‘content to leave’ are resurfaced and during the verbatim of conflict are often misrepresented as things in the past that were big but didn’t feel safe to raise. This is why the little things can become collateral damage in the future as they can be thrown into the ‘now,’ without any context, or ability to remember the real intent.
We are passionate about couples dismantling their shelf and developing an inner resolve to not become ‘content with the discontent’. Rather love the other enough to communicate the little things, while context and intent is still present, resolving the miscommunication or misunderstanding and then getting back into living life together. This way of thinking and doing, where little things are not shelved away, develops a sense of security, authenticity and belonging. It takes time, yet voicing the little at the point in time, sends a message to your one that you love them enough to tackle the small before it is used as harmful evidence for the later. When couples engage in this commitment to not be content in their discontent, security emerges and takes centre stage. When two are committed to the same page, they put aside evidence, grow together as overcomers and run in freedom.
I am thankful that Jesus brings to our attention any areas where we are holding a grudge, or internally spitting evidence and misunderstandings against another. He gives us the opportunity to find a pathway to resolve wrongs and then we can give the leftover mess for Him to carry.
Proverbs 13:2-3 (Message)
“The good acquire a taste for helpful conversation; bullies push and shove their way through life. Careful words make for a careful life; careless talk may ruin everything.”