The Importance of Saving Relationships
Life, Relationships and Duct Tape
Have you ever had a relationship that ended and afterward you wished it hadn’t? Have you ever found yourself looking back and wishing you had not lost contact with someone or that you had not walked away from a relationship because it was just too difficult to deal with? Have you ever wondered “what if?” about long lost relationships and wished you had another chance to make it work? Unfortunately, we often allow our emotions to get in the way and walk away from relationships that can enrich our lives; sometimes we miss out on what could be wonderful because we give up. Acknowledging the fact that sometimes it is necessary to walk away, I want to focus today’s thoughts on the importance of working through the difficulties in order to maintain or save the relationships in our lives.
Recently I attended a party with childhood friends and noticed that “J” was wearing a pair of sneakers with duct tape wrapped around one of them. Thinking that it must be a temporary fix until she could get a new pair, I decided not to ask her about it. Certainly this was not her everyday sneakers; or was it. Later “J” shared with me that she had an idea for an article; it was about her shoes. Intrigued, I listened as she explained that she really liked her sneakers and just because the one had a small defect there was no need to throw them away; the duct tape is holding them together until she decides to get another pair. She shared that relationships are kind of like her duct taped shoe. All too often we tend to throw out a relationship because it is not perfect, it’s flawed or we find someone new to take their place. What if, she suggests that we simply put duct tape on it until we can fix it or until we can figure out how to fix it? And what happens when we develop new relationships? Do we leave the old ones behind because we have new friends? Are we so enticed by the newness that we leave the familiar behind? There’s something to be said about old friendships; you should never leave behind old friends for new ones. If you have two old friends and you make two new friends you then have four friends; not just the two new ones. Old friends are a conduit to our past; a lifeline that can’t be replaced. In order to have old friends, we must be willing to do the work; to hold onto what we have.
In the weeks since my conversation with “J” I have spent a lot of time questioning why it is that we are so quick to end relationships; what makes them disposable? What makes a relationship necessary one moment and unnecessary the next? Knowing that there is no defined answer to my many questions I conclude that we have become such a “throw away” society that it’s easy to detach from things and people quickly without a lot of thought. What if we took the time to work on relationships? What if we focused on what brought us into a particular relationship in the beginning? What if like my friend’s shoe we duct taped the relationship and held it together until we could find a solution to the fault or defect? What if we nurtured what we have and incorporate old and new together? Isn’t it important to save the relationships?
As my husband and I prepare to renew our wedding vows for our 25th wedding anniversary we often hear people “you two are so lucky”. At first I would agree but after talking with “J” I realize that luck has nothing to do with it. Twenty-five years of marriage, two kids, the loss of a baby, numerous moves, job changes, health scares, loss of family members and countless disagreements requires work not luck. Luck is finding $10 in the parking lot. Now, when someone tells me how lucky I am I politely reply that I’m not lucky I’m blessed and that what we have is a result of work; work that includes respect, compromise and leaving your pride at the door; duct taping it all together until we figure out how to fix the cracks that time has created and never giving up what we have for something or someone new.
Relationships come in phases. A healthy relationship matures with time. Getting to know someone new brings about excitement, however, as time goes on and the newness wears off we often begin to find fault and make the decision to walk away. Walking away is easy way. Sticking around and working to caulk the cracks of a relationship is hard. Taking time to remember what it is that made the relationship form in the first place can be the first step in renewal. Having found ourselves in the “throw away” mode on several occasions throughout our marriage David and I made the decision to always stick it out; walking away has never been an option. Working through difficulties is no easy task. Staying focused and remembering what’s important is essential to a healthy long lasting relationship.
I encourage you to nurture your relationships. Keeping that in mind that relationships are never 50/50, I think you will find it a bit easier to hang on to what you have. Seeking new relationships is a great way to expand your life experiences, however, I believe there’s something to be said about longevity and familiarity with the ones you already have. New sneakers, like relationships, are great to have. However, like the comfort of an old pair of sneakers, broken in and well-worn spending time with an old friend can bring about a sense of peace and security that can only be bought with time. Old friendships were once new and quite possibly like “J’s” shoes had to be duct taped once in a while to be held together.
I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!
Check out Karla’s 24 Day Advocare Challenge updates!