by Victoria Ostee
Move Forward through Life Together
Our relationships are precious, valuable treasures from heaven, and we should handle them carefully, always looking for ways to build bridges to each other’s hearts. I know that all of us desire to come up higher and one way we can take a step towards the next level is in our love for one another.
Novelist Katherine Anne Porter once wrote, “Love must be learned, and learned again; there is no end to it.” Love should not remain the same year after year; love is supposed to grow. Relationships evolve over time, people change over time, and our love should strengthen and grow over time too. The apostle Paul prayed that our love would abound and grow in knowledge and depth of insight. That tells me that I cannot put my love on autopilot. If we put our love on autopilot and think that the people in our lives will simply “know” that we love them, our relationships will not grow or be as fruitful as they were intended to be. That’s why it’s so important to make every effort to keep strong connections in our relationships.
Several years ago when Joel and I assumed leadership at the ministry, our lives became fuller and more complicated. Oftentimes, we found ourselves moving in different directions, so we had to make an extra effort to connect with each other throughout the day. We recognized that if we didn’t make the effort, we’d find ourselves breezing right by each other, with our minds preoccupied with the tasks at hand. So, to help keep the connection, we decided to acknowledge each other every time we pass. Sometimes we high five, sometimes it’s a quick “I love you,” or a kiss on the lips. It’s not important how we connect, but it is important that we do connect. We are both busy people during the day but whenever we see each other, everything else is placed on hold for a moment while we connect. Keep our connections strong, helps keep our hearts moving in the same direction.
Leaving notes is a wonderful and easy way to keep connections. When Joel travels without me, I put little notes in his socks just to say “I love you.” (I have also been known to put photos of us in his suitcase.) You may want to leave sweet notes around the house, in a drawer, under a pillow, or on the TV remote as little reminders to the people you love that they are valuable to you. It takes time and effort to maintain the connections in our relationships. Sometimes when someone hurts or offends us, we can be tempted to disconnect. But one of the most common mistakes people make in relationships is to give the other person the silent treatment in an effort to pull back.
I heard a story about a couple who had a big fight. That night, the man and wife were still not talking to each other, and since the man didn’t want to give in first, he left her a note saying, “Wake me up at six o’clock in the morning.” The next morning, the man woke up at eight o’clock and was furious. He was about to go find his wife to give her a piece of his mind, when he noticed a note on his side of the bed that read, “It’s six o’clock; wake up!”
At one time or another, we have all faced the temptation to disconnect by giving someone the silent treatment. After being married to Joel for more than twenty-one years, I have learned that is not the best way to handle a disagreement. Scripture encourages, “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” It’s not good to go to sleep mad and frustrated, because you’ll wake up with that same anger and frustration you went to bed with — and you probably won’t sleep very well anyway. You may not have the resolution to the disagreement by the time the evening comes, but if you will learn that you can disagree and still be friends, you will enjoy your relationships a whole lot more. I have a friend who tells me that sometimes when she and her husband are still mad at each other at bedtime, right before she goes to sleep, she will simply say to him, “I am right, you are wrong, and I love you. Good night.”
Joel and I have decided that sometimes you have just to agree to disagree. One of the most freeing experiences is to recognize that you are two different people who see things differently, and you can still love each other and stay connected. Just because you have a disagreement with your friends or family members does not mean there are not plenty of other areas on which you see eye to eye. It just means you have a difference of opinion. Having the same heart and the same goal is what maintains a good connection. There will be times when we do not agree on every decision or subject, but we should always believe in one another, support one another, and move forward through life together — connected.