They are coming for you. Sneaking quietly up the stairs. They know where you sleep. They want to butcher… your… relationships!
Okay, so I have never seen a horror movie in my life (and do not intend to). ~smile~ Even the eerie music on the tame Matlock television series makes me turn my head (no, I am not kidding!). So, forgive my pitiful attempts to freak you out! What can I say? I will always choose romantic comedies, light-hearted dramas, and Disney cartoons over anything with blood and gore. (Always.)
Still, with Halloween coming up, it seems fitting to talk about the relationship killers we often ignore until they are strangling us in our sleep.
Wondering what relationship murderers are hiding in your closet? Here are just a sampling of blood-sucking, peace-stealing, relationship-stabbing monsters:
- Pride – “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18, ESV). When does pride ever lead to a good place? There is such a concept as taking pride in one’s work, but that is not the same as being prideful. The prideful person thinks more highly of himself or herself than of others – including sweethearts. Pride comes when we put our faith in ourselves instead of God and that pride transfers into our relationships. It keeps us from backing out of arguments gracefully and ending needless conflicts. Pride stirs up anger while humility eases it.
- Selfishness – Selfishness and pride go hand-in-hand. Prideful people are selfish. When you believe you are king (or queen), so to speak, you want to be treated as such. You want your needs met and your desires granted. And why not? You are awesome, right? All divorces are rooted in selfishness. It may rise to the surface in a number of different ways (g., money problems, affairs, etc.), but selfishness is at the heart of all divorce-worthy problems. Me, me, me, mine, mine, mine. Selfishness will set fire to an otherwise happy union.
- Grudges (Unforgiveness) – “If you hurt me once, it is over.” Who can possibly thrive under such pressure? Couples who cannot forgive will either fall apart or stay together and be miserable. The ability to forgive is essential for any lasting relationship. It may not be essential for a lasting marriage, but a lasting marriage is not the same as a lasting relationship.
- Poor Priorities – The squeaky wheel gets the oil. Work issues, screaming kids, and burning dinners will always be prioritized unless the couple says, “No, we are going to put our relationship before these temporary problems – second only to our relationship with God!” Our actions reflect our highest priorities.
- Unrealistic Expectations – My friends’ “must have” lists have shortened over the years. As teenagers, we wanted guys that looked and acted a certain way. Several years later, only the most important traits matter. I can remember nitpicking flaws in an ex-boyfriend. Now, those “flaws” do not seem nearly as important. We can kill our relationships by slapping demands on each other that do not amount to much in light of eternity.
- Harsh Words and Poor Communication – Speaking harshly to someone else is like squeezing all of the toothpaste out of your tube. Think you can take those words back? Try putting the toothpaste back inside the tube; it is a frustrating and nearly impossible task! We can spew out angry words that appear to make no lasting difference; but, like a slow-acting poison, they sink into our sweeties’ hearts and gradually kill. We cannot take them back.
- Self-Reliance (versus dependence on God) – All the relationship killers above fall under the umbrella of self-reliance. If I am taking full care of myself without any help, sure I can be prideful, selfish, and hold grudges. Why not? I am the beginning and end, so I am entitled to those “luxuries.” When we worship ourselves rather than relying on God as our Rock, we poison our relationships. We can do nothing apart from Him. Even the ability to stand and sit is given to us by His grace. When we acknowledge our need for Him, we do not see ourselves as deserving of praise. When we direct our worship to the Lord, we approach our relationships with humility. If I am God, you should worship me and please me; but, if He is God, only He is worthy to be honored and praised. A correct view of God leads to a correct view of self. A correct view of self leads to a correct view of others.
These scary devils are never far from us. They wait for us to take our eyes off the prize, get lazy, and open ourselves up to their attacks. We have all been visited by at least one of these murdering ghosts. How do you handle it when they come running towards you? What is your battle plan?
How will you and your sweetie safeguard yourselves against these relationship killers?