"Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves." Romans 12:10 (NIV)
I had a favorite sweater I loved wearing. It wasn't too bulky but was still warm and cozy. The only problem was the threads were loosely woven together. It would snag on things, so I had to be careful.
I was mindful of the delicate nature of this sweater so I could protect it, make it last, and enjoy wearing it time and again.
Until one day I was in a hurry, grabbed some things I needed and rushed to my car. I tossed my stuff on the passenger seat, including a spiral notebook whose metal binding wire caught on my sleeve. As I pulled my arm toward the steering wheel, the notebook came with it and pulled a huge snag in my sweater.
I unhooked myself and assessed the damage. I should have taken the sweater off and later taken time to repair the snag the correct way.
But in my rush, I made the decision to do what seemed easiest in the moment. I snipped the lose threads and hoped for the best.
That decision started an unraveling process that ended the life of my beautiful sweater.
Recently, my husband and I got into an argument. In front of the kids. Over something so stupid. Right before we were about to head out the door to go on a date.
In the heat of the argument he announced the date was off. He no longer wanted to go. Honestly, I didn't either.
I wanted to sit in a coffee shop by myself and make a mental list of all the reasons I was right. All the reasons he was wrong. And justify my perspective.
But it's at this exact moment of resistance an unraveling can begin.
Doing what seems easy in the moment often isn't what's best for the long term.
I pushed for us to still go on our date. It wasn't fun. It wasn't easy. There were tears.
There were awkward stretches of silence. But we pushed through the resistance we both felt, and eventually talked.
Talking through the snags. The pulls. The things that threaten to unravel us.
There is a delicate nature to marriage. It's so easy to forget that. It's so easy to take it all for granted and stop being careful. Stop being mindful. Stop being protective.
The unraveling can happen so quickly. And the unraveling doesn't just happen in marriages. It can occur with best friends, children, in-laws ... especially during the holidays.
Yes, during what's considered the happiest season of the year, stress levels can be at an all time high. Between coordinating family get-togethers, shopping blow-out sales, and spending time with that relative you might not be friends with if you weren't related, Christmas can feel anything but merry and the New Year anything but happy. And all that's pulling at you can make tempers flare and your relationships feel like they're coming apart at the seams.
Be intentional about catching the snags in these relationships. Today. Right now.
For me, being intentional required an apology to my husband. By admitting I was wrong and asking for forgiveness. Repairing the snags the correct way—tying a knot and tucking it back into the weave of our relationship fabric.
Dear Lord, thank You for special relationships. I let my emotional state get the best of me sometimes, but I want You to be in control of how I react. Please give me the spirit I need to build up people around me instead of tearing them down. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Related Resources: In her New York Times best selling book Unglued, Lysa TerKeurst shares how to respond with no regrets by managing your tendencies to stuff or explode. Click here to purchase your copy.
Do you have a few friends drowning in relationship stress? The Unglued Bible study bundle makes a great gift you can all enjoy together and study in the New Year.
Reflect and Respond: What's something you can do today to invest wisely in your relationships?
Write down two people you will commit to improving your relationship with this month. Note things that are special to them such as favorite hobbies, ways they are encouraged, places to eat, etc. Use this information to bless them in the time you spend together.
Power Verses: Hebrews 10:24-25, "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." (NIV)
© 2012 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
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