“Give us today our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11 (NIV)
Our hearts hunger for meaningful relationships. Yet, the reality is that all relationships naturally go stale. Somebody said, “Marriage is like a hot bath; once you get used to it, it’s not so hot anymore.” Not only that, all relationships naturally stay shallow. If you don’t do something intentionally to take your relationship deeper, it will naturally stay on the surface and remain shallow. As if these were not enough challenges to keep our relationships fresh, you’ve probably experienced this one too, “All relationships naturally hit stress points.” Maybe that’s what you’re dealing with right now in your marriage or with your kids. The four most common stress points are:
- Unrealistic expectations – This one contributes to the greatest amount of conflicts in a relationship. The truth is there’s only been one perfect person – Jesus. Still, somehow, we enter a relationship, thinking we’ve met the perfect person. We visualize this perfect picture of the perfect marriage and the perfect family. Then, reality sets in and we begin to see their flaws or they see ours. At that point, we’re left with a choice. We can either tear up the fantasy of our perfect picture or we can tear up the person.
- Unexpected differences – Many couples wake up to this stress point after they say I do. Before marriage, all they could see is how much they share in common. They think they are just alike! But, after being married for a while, they wonder what they ever had in common! The truth is that no one is just like you! God broke the mold when He made you. To keep your marriage fresh, begin to celebrate your differences. Appreciate the way God connected you with someone who is different and unique.
- Unmet needs – We all have needs, and we demonstrate our love for one another by meeting those needs. Stress comes when we expect someone to meet a need that only God can in our lives. It’s unfair to put that on anyone. My wife can’t meet my deepest needs any more than I could meet hers. Only God can meet our deepest needs. Are you expecting your spouse to meet your deepest needs?
- Unforgiven mistakes – Every relationship has conflicts. Given enough time, we will hurt each other. When that happens, we have a choice. We can forgive or let bitterness grow like a mold that destroys our relationship.
With all these challenges, you may be wondering How can I keep a relationship fresh? or, even more difficult, How do I revive a stale relationship? Is it even possible? Yes! God offers fresh bread for starving relationships! The bread He offers can even revive stale relationships! Jesus said,
“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to Me will never be hungry again.” John 6:35a (NLT)
Join me this week as we sit at His table and eat of that bread that makes us full and offers fulfilling relationships that never grow stale!