My newest obsession is the game Candy Crush Saga. I’m sure a few of you can relate. ~smile~ However, over the last few days, I have been stuck on level 23. Considering there are 360 or so levels, I’m feeling just a tad disheartened! I play on our iPad and my phone, but I just can’t seem to move past this infernal stage in the game on any device! To make matters worse, my phone can’t handle the excitement and it freezes or shuts down every time I come close to winning… (I think it’s a conspiracy). I’m in the process of looking up tips online for how to get through this annoying level, but I decided to take a break from my research to write about my frustration!
Have you come to an impasse in your relationship that left you feeling frustrated? I know I have. Sometimes Eric and I just don’t see eye-to-eye on life and no matter how I position myself, strategize my argument, and line up my thoughts, we still don’t pass the level. Over and over we go, talking about the subject at hand until we’re both ready to throw our hands in the air; however, we’re determined to stay in the game. So, what does it take to play through to the end if some levels seem impossible to master?
Believe me, I have not exhibited much patience over the last few days as I’ve been desperately trying to beat this level so I can breathe easy and get on with my life! It is especially exasperating when you run out of lives and have to wait a half hour to get another one. My frugality is inhibiting me from purchasing more lives, but that could change as my frustration level increases.
One positive about running out of lives is that it forces me to take a break. If I didn’t have to take breaks, I could easily fuss and fight with my iPad for hours before I realized how much time I had wasted. The same is true in relationships. If we aren’t careful with our time, we can spend hours bumping into the same walls repeatedly, getting nowhere. A good thirty minute break to breathe and regroup is sometimes all that’s needed to work through a level. So if your argument is going nowhere fast, be patient, don’t demand that it be worked out immediately, and take a break. When you attempt to beat the level in your relationship that has you stuck after a mental and emotional rest, you have a far greater chance of beating it because you’ll be calmer and less flustered!
I just took a break from writing to try to beat the level again. I wanted to give you all a lesson in determination and how it pays off. Hopefully, I’ll be able to beat it before I post this! But, alas, I have more than seven minutes to go before my next life becomes available, so I’ll give it another go later. I want to beat this level. I have two options, ultimately. I can say “Forget this, I have better things to do with my time!” (this is basically what I said about Angry Birds) or I can say, “I know that eventually I’ll get through this level if I just keep trying.”
Last night after fussing with the game long enough, I asked Eric to take the devil machine (i.e., iPad) away from me. He being the skilled gamer that he is (his mad skills are really rather infuriating) asked me if I wanted him to try to beat the level. “NO! Leave it alone. I want to beat it!” Having him beat the level for me wouldn’t have made me rest any easier. I need to work through it and conquer it.
Other people can’t solve your relational problems for you. There will be some in your life who may want to step in and fix your situation with their knowledge and expertise, but ultimately you and your honey will have to work out your own problems. You can seek the help of a coach or counselor, but simply nodding at the counselor and shaking hands with each other won’t cut it. The issue has to be worked through, head on. Determination is key. Without it you will eventually turn off the game forever. (Like I did with Angry Birds… I hate Angry Birds….)
3. Skill Development
Working through new levels in your relationship will make you develop skills you didn’t have when you were single. Some levels will be easy. The first few levels of any game are usually the easiest. We’ll call these the honeymoon levels. But some levels are hard and significant learning has to take place before you can beat that level and proceed to the next level.
Take a step back and review the situation. What isn’t working on this level? Raising my voice isn’t working. Repeating my position isn’t working. Reminding him of all the times he forgot to compliment me isn’t working, so let’s reformulate. I’ll try keeping a calm voice, finding a more clear way to express my position, and responding to him respectfully.
Ok, we still didn’t pass this level, but we got closer. Let me change my strategy a bit more. This time I’m going to listen to him without interrupting. I’m going to respond to what he says and agree wherever I’m able and I’m going to try to compare my position to something he’s recently experienced.
Oh, so close. One last change… Using his love language, I’m going to remind him that no matter what happens, I’m on his team. Score! We worked it out. We passed this level! Now on to the next!
4. Asking for Help (Wisdom)
As much as I hate to admit it, I may have to ask for Eric’s help on this level. Considering there are more than 300 levels remaining, I’d really rather not have to ask for his help yet, but I know he’s there if I just can’t take it anymore! I’m sure there are millions of people who have beaten this level, so I know it can be done.
Millions of people have had successful dating, and (later) marriage, relationships. They’ve traversed some tough trials, but they didn’t give up and they learned a lot in the process. It’s wise to ask someone who has beaten the level you’re on for tips on how to conquer it. Be in agreement about asking for help – don’t go behind each other’s backs. You won’t beat this level the exact same way other couples did it, but they can surely give you pointers and cheer you on as you play. When you are ready to give up remember all the couples that made it through and know that you can and will beat the level if you keep at it.
5. Consulting the Game’s Inventor/Author of the Manual
Ok, I admit it. I’ve asked God to help me beat this level. Perhaps that sounds silly, but like I said before, I am at wits end! Though I don’t have access to Candy Crush Saga’s creator, there are a lot of tips and helps available on line. The game wasn’t created without a way to win. The game is challenging. If it wasn’t challenging, who would want to play it? The game helps develop quick thinking and other skills.
God didn’t create marriage and say, “They are now therefore doomed, haha!” Instead He said, “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Mark 10:9, ESV) He created it with challenges, but always with a way to win. It’s not always easy to find the solutions to relational problems, but they’re there. And when you get stuck, talk to the Creator. Ask Him for help and guidance. Look in the manual He provided for answers.
I’m going to keep plugging away at this level until I conquer it and I’m going to keep plugging through life with my sweet Eric. We’ve beaten a lot of levels together and I’m sure there are many levels to come. Now that we’ve pushed through so many levels, I’m less panicked when we come to a difficult test. Because we’ve made it this far, I’m confident that we can keep moving through. I’m thankful for the teammate God has given me in this game of life!
I won! I won! I won!!! I tried just after I finished writing this post and won on the first try! Keep on playing, everybody! ~smile~