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Monday, February 27, 2012

What to Do When Relationships Aren't Working

The making of second class citizens

 There is a term that most of us are familiar with. “Let no one steal your joy.” But the sad truth is that we often give it away, freely relinquishing it to other people.  

We feel compelled to put ourselves second, and we forget that we need to value ourselves first in order for us to be of value to others.

We cannot share what we ourselves cannot master. We cannot share love if we do not know or understand love. We cannot truly value another properly, if we fail to value ourselves. 

Unequal "yoke-age" 

We enter into unbalanced relationships. Or to use a term from my church parlance, we enter into relationships in which we are unequally “yoked”.  

This is not a term that anyone likes. No one wants to think of themselves as yoked to someone else. It sounds too much like being chained to someone, or in bondage to them.  

However, the problem is not in the “yoking.” The real meaning of yoking two things together is that each will carry or pull their fair share of the load, and together move heavier loads than they could separately.  

In human relationships, this means each person carries part of every load. What does that mean? 

It means that we share the money, plans for our collective future, as well as, the emotional highs and lows. It means that we carry all of that stuff, and we also carry each other. 

Most of us can feel when things start to get out of balance.

Sometimes the change is slow, insidious and sneaky; sometimes it’s obvious. But, no matter how it comes to us, if we don’t have the courage to face it at the beginning, the problems will usually continue to grow until we are forced to face them.

What's your plan?
Are you looking for a way through or a way out? 

If you have reached a point in your association that you are dreading walking into the space occupied by your “loved one,” stop and search your heart for the reason(s). 

Once we all get past the puppy-dog love and that period of not being able to be out of each other’s sight for more than a few minutes, relationships are heavy lifting. This requires some serious and heart-felt conversation to figure out if you are both up to the task. 

I am not talking about bailing out of your situation, just the opposite. 

You have already done one of the most important things by recognizing and admitting to yourself that there are issues and committing to doing something about them.  

Sit down in a quiet place without distractions, and have that uncomfortable conversation.

Explore the problems and the perceptions.

Investigate the changes in your situation and circumstances.

Look carefully at how things are getting done.

Express your heart and your desire as to how you would like to see things done, differently.

Now comes the hard part. 

Shut up and listen!!! 

Listen with all of your senses

Discern what is being said, and what is not being said.

Breathe in the tones and nuances.

Absorb the silences.

Look at the facial expressions that go with the words.

Think before you speak.

Do not leave this space until you have jointly decided on at least one concrete and do-able action step.

Plan to come back to this neutral space for further discussion.

Set aside a date and a time, and commit to it.

It’s that important!

Enter the space in love and leave it in the same way.

If you cannot find peace or common ground on one issue, then perhaps it is time for a different and harder conversation.

But not now.

This is not easy stuff.

Sharing the load.

That’s what we seek, and what we all need.


The shares may not be equal, but that’s not the point or the goal. 

Everyone doing their own part.

Celebrating the good times together.

Crying with each other through the bad times. 

Fix your yoke!

It’s important.

What else would you add to this list?

photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/12234782@N00/10865424/

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