Years ago, I witnessed an argument between some family members. These individuals rarely argued, and this disagreement shook them up quite a bit. One of them said to me, “I don’t think things will ever be the same again.”
Have you ever felt that way after a relational rupture?
A couple of months ago, I got in a heated argument with one of my teenagers. I hate arguing to begin with, but as we retreated to our own corners in anger, I remember having this sinking fear that I had just ruined our relationship. The question driving my fear was, “Will we be able to recover from this?” Like my family member above, I feared that maybe things would never be the same.
The truth is, relationships are going to get injured – especially within our families. Because it takes two imperfect humans to make up a relationship, arguments will happen, friction will exist at times, and pain will come. I don’t think that pain and relational friction is enjoyable for anyone. But what if we didn’t have to be so afraid of the bumps in the road?
In my time working with THRIVEtoday and Thriving Mamas, I have learned that the goal isn’t to somehow ensure these relational challenges never occur, but rather to learn how to repair when they do, and over time to learn to repair more quickly. And here is the real clincher – when relationships go through problems and get repaired, they end up STRONGER than they were before!
After my argument with my teen, I gave them (and myself) a short time to quiet. Then I did what was scary for me: I re-engaged. I knocked on my kiddo’s door and asked if we could talk. This involved me being humble, modeling repentance, and making it clear our relationship was more important to me than the issue we argued over. We had a beautiful conversation as we both shared our hearts and repented.
As we moved on from our discussion, I noticed that the warmth from my child toward me was so much stronger! This is not the first time I have found that if I will do the hard work of repair, we will end up closer. Once again, my teenager and I learned that we can hit a big bump, work through it, and come out the other side. This built more security in our relationship and strengthened our bond.
If you struggle with wanting to avoid any conflict with your kids, I encourage you to remember that these conflicts can serve as tools to strengthen the bonds we have with them. This does not mean that we should go looking for conflict, but it does mean that we do not have to fear it. If we will learn how to quiet ourselves and make the effort to repair the ruptures, we will find just how much God can redeem the pain and use it to make us and our relationship stronger
To hear more about how to quiet and care for yourself in moments of high emotion so that you can repair when things go south, check out our Encouragement for Maxed out Moms video series.