Relationships are like roads, sometimes they are smooth and definitive. Other times, they are rocky and unpredictable. Most of us experience bumps in the road. Sometimes we drive over them unscathed. Other times, they hurl us completely off the road and we roll uncontrollably into a ditch. Hurt, distressed, and uncertain of what the future holds, we have to make a choice. Do we get back on that road? Or do we pick ourselves, brush ourselves down and take a different route?
You may decide to cruise the winding roads in the safety of your car, or ride full-throttle on a racing motorbike with the wind in our hair, adrenaline running through veins, and not a care in the world. Too fast? A tandem might be more your style, travelling a gentle pace. No rush, just relishing the moments you share together. Whether it’s slow pace, or spontaneity you seek. Every relationship is different. Every relationship takes its own unique journey.
Sometimes we become lost…
Most of us have been on that same tiresome journey. We drive around in circles, lost, and without a map. We don’t know which road to take. Whether we are chasing the road to nowhere, or struggling to drive uphill. It’s a fact of life, Relationships become stuck. Often, this happens when we drive around in the same circles. But why do we keep chasing the road to nowhere, knowing it doesn’t lead anywhere? If we are aware of the underlying issues, why do we not stop, and deal with them?
Is this because we are avoiding, the unavoidable?
My husband and I, recently became lost. How I longed for a map to point us in the right direction, to show us the way. I had no idea how to make things better, all I seemed to do, was make things worse. We kept travelling in the same circles, ending up where we had begun, growing more and more tired, and feeling ever more exasperated. For a long time, we lost sight of the road ahead. I didn’t even know if our paths were heading in the same direction. One thing I was certain of was that something needed to change. No longer could we keep travelling the same broken road.
Our road was one of many rocks, but it wasn’t until we were swept right off course, when I grasped, that no matter how much of a wreck we were sat in, we could fix it. It would take time, and a lot of attention, but it was fixable. Together, we rebuilt what we had, and eventually, we were able to reignite our love for one another. In time, we were back on the road, and travelling in a new direction.
The key to rebuilding a broken relationship is to work together. If one person is putting in the hard work, whilst the over person sits on the bonnet, smoking cigarettes. At some point, the person doing all the hard graft, is going to throw the towel in, and hitch another ride. Alternatively, if you both sit complaining about the wreckage, and not doing anything about it, things will not change, they will remain a wreckage.
Life is full of ups and downs. It’s inevitable that we will, at some point, come to some bumps in the road. Whether we slam our breaks down, do a U-turn in the road, and drive the other way, it’s down to you. But we can’t keep running away from our problems, if we did, we wouldn’t be able to move forwards. Rather than avoiding such bumps, how about experiencing them with the mentality that you WILL get over them, and as a result, move forwards. The strongest relationships are often the ones that have suffered the most. They are often the ones that have been taken right off the tracks. With nothing to lose, they can do nothing but build themselves up.
You might be travelling on the toughest terrain, or facing the most challenging weathers, or perhaps there is just too much junk in that trunk? Your baggage might be weighing you down. Rather than struggling on, fully aware of the weight that is preventing you from moving on, it’s important to work through these issues. This might mean you need to pop open the boot and rummage through the past. In the process, you will need to find acceptance, and take responsibility. Once, you feel like you are ready for closure, leave it on the sidewalk, and never look back!
In theory, it appears to be so simple, but I have experienced this predicament myself, and I can say it’s anything but! In practice, you may need a little help through counselling; whether it’s couples counselling or you decide to work through your own baggage. You may feel like this is something you need to do on your own, at your own pace. Whatever works for you! Once you have offloaded some of the weighty issues of your past, you will feel more able to move on.
You need to be aware, that once these issues have been dealt with, there’s NO looking back. The slate has to be wiped clean. This is commonly where couples go wrong. They draw the line the sand, and for a while they are on the road to recovery, but if one person sneakily, reopens a suitcase of ‘yesterday’s hurt’, you may as well be driving round in circles! What’s been done, has been done. It’s time to move on. If that means piling the suitcases, one upon the other, and watching them go up in flames…so be it!
There have been times when I felt too overwhelmed by the brokenness that surrounded me. It would have been easier to walk away. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the emotional exhaustion that derives from a broken relationship. When things look so fragmented and unfixable, we tend to get discouraged and begin to doubt ourselves and question our decisions. As hard as it is, you need to forget about the rumble that surrounds you and keep focused on your future.
It’s only natural to hit rocks in the road. Sometimes, these rocks are avoidable with a quick swerve of a wheel. In theory, if we choose to, strategically, avoid these potential threats, then we should find ourselves on the straight and narrow. This is simple enough, if we can see the rocks coming. However, life isn’t so straightforward. Sometimes, we experience the unexpected bump in the road. It’s important to learn to manage them, in the right way.
These days, we drive with caution. I avoid any foreseeable rocks in the road and accept the ones I have no control over.
Whatever the future may hold…
You are in control of your own journey!