Oct 242017 2 Responses

The Secret Seduction Eroding Your Relationship

Space. If I could write a prescription for the average relationship, I would write it for a healthy dose of space. It can be a miracle salve. The disconnect many couples feel can be cured. Feelings of uncertainty can be quashed. The marriage can be improved with significant dosages of silence in which a man and woman have the space to interact.

Space is necessary for a healthy relationship. If we aren’t careful, our connections with one another can be crowded out. Many relationships die by suffocation. It’s not one person wrapping their hand around the throat of the relationship, but instead, it’s a hundred different expectations and responsibilities and hobbies squeezing the life out of the connection. Without ample space, two people cannot open their hearts and share their lives. Unable to compete for the interest and attention of the other, the relationship dies.

In days gone by, space was more abundant. It was naturally built into our weekly schedules and daily lives. Society operated with an ebb and flow of work and rest. Marriages could be rejuvenated by a slow Sunday. They could reconnect on the front porch after supper time. They could communicate in the darkness before they drifted off to sleep.

Not so today. Weekends are often busier than weekdays. Dinner is inhaled between activities. The darkness of bedtime is lit by the faint glow of Netflix streaming on a cell-phone. Each second of every day is filled with multiple activities, voices, and distractions. Every inch of our lives is filled leaving no space for relationships to grow. Wherever they try to spring up, they are quickly choked out by our busyness and drowned out by the noise which is ever present.

We need silence.

It doesn’t guarantee the growth of a relationship. If a relationship is toxic, more space might simply provide more room for the dysfunction to grow. Space doesn’t create health, but health cannot be present without space. When a couple is continually inundated with noise and activity, their intimacy and connection will diminish.

Doesn’t this explain so many relationships? They start with a vibrant connection. Man and woman meet, fall in love, and get married with passion. But as life’s demands increase and their intention regarding the relationship decreases, the connection wanes. What began as a passionate connection devolves into two people living parallel lives.

Most of them recognize the problem, but few of them properly diagnose it. They think:

  • I married the wrong person.
  • She/he changed.
  • We’ve fallen out of love.
  • Marriage doesn’t work anymore.

What they fail to see is that their relationship is suffering because it doesn’t have any space. Neither spouse has the resources to make the relationship grow. With everything else taking place in their lives, there is no room to make a connection with one another.

A Secret Seduction

Couples need to create space. In the midst of a busy world, they must intentionally find ways to allow their connection to grow. To do this, they must deny a subtle seduction which is continually vying for our attention.

Every day, more and more activity and noises are attempting to make their way into our lives. If they presented themselves as a collective whole, we could easily say that we are too busy and do not have time. But because they come at us one by one, we never realize how much time and energy they are sucking from us. The activity and the noise are taking up all the space leaving us with nothing left for our spouses.

Over time, we become addicted to the activity. We know no other way. So even if we have the opportunity to experience silence, be still, and have some open spaces, we reject them. Instead, we seek out activity and noise. Our phones, tablets, and computers forever creep into our lives so that we have no true down-time. Always entertained, we have little need or opportunity to seek connection with our spouse. With all the noise in our lives, it’s hard to break through the sound for meaningful conversation. Without stillness, silence, and reflection, we fail to breach the important topics of life of who are we, why are we here, how can we do better, and how can we love one another?

The Power of a Porch

When Jenny and I go on vacation, we tend to spend a little more money than necessary on the place where we stay. We prefer to rent houses over hotel rooms and one of the prerequisites of a good house rental is a good porch or deck. We want a place where we can sit for good periods of time in silence and be amazed by the view of an ocean or mountain or beautiful golf course (that last one inspires me more than her).

What amazes me about these places is how often we connect in far more meaningful ways than when we are at home. Obviously being on vacation has something to do with it. Released from the normal pressures of life, we are free to connect. But more important is the space we create. By taking time to sit, be silent, and still, we create the space for connection. Without the constant presence of text messages or phone calls and with the TV turned off, we move beyond the surface conversations into discussions of meaning. Even if the conversation isn’t memorable, we feel more connected by simply sharing the experience of sitting quietly and reflecting on the beauty before us.

This is the prescription I would write for many couples. Yes, vacation is a great way to experience this type of connection, but even in our day-to-day lives we can create more space where a connection can grow. In a time where noise and activity are continually creeping into our lives, we must find ways to turn noises off and opportunities down. We must ignore the secret seduction of noise for the sake of stillness and silence in hopes that it will give us the space necessary to connect.

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