In my last “Relationships Tip Tuesdays” I began discussing the ways in which we often unwittingly build up walls (sometimes massive) between us and our mate. Typically we find ourselves feeling hurt or discounted by the other person and the trust and safety that we once felt begins to slowly erode. We may find ourselves hunkering down simply trying to avoid trouble, or as some might say, “Trying to just have peace.”
But the truth of the matter is, most of us don’t work for “peace” as much as we just try to not have conflict. And we accomplish this by avoidance. You see, if today goes by and Israel and Syria don’t launch missiles at each other, it is not because they have achieved peace. They just avoided conflict today. But actual peace requires active engagement – which is work.
It is not unusual for me to ask a couple how their week went and get a reply of, “Not bad. We didn’t have any fights.” That is not peace. They avoided conflict by building a wall or pattern of avoidance of any difficult subjects. But what they really desire deep down in their bones is true peace.
What might happen if instead of building a wall of avoidance, you were to raise a sensitive issue with your spouse without attacking or defending? By caring enough to try and remove a brick or two from that wall, you are declaring to your spouse – “You matter too much for me to let this issue go unaddressed!” If that wall is pretty solid, it will take commitment and work to change it. It won’t necessarily be easy, but in the long run, as that wall comes down, it will be worth it!