By Klaus Döring
What are the signs of a broken relationship?
Resentment. Resentment grows when someone feels unheard or dismissed. Disrespect. Mutual respect is a cornerstone of all successful relationships. Dishonesty. Mistrust. Distancing. Defensiveness. Contempt.
“Relationship” comes from the Latin “referre” or “relatum”, which means “to bring back”.
In one of my penultimate columns, I tried to explain, “when to keep our mouth shut”! Silence is also an answer – sure! But some of my readers posed the question, if also broken relationships can be only restored by silence or waiting. My answer is YES and/or NO!
Sometimes, it’s a miracle what a small dose of determined silence can do. Relationships are ALWAYS worth restoring, because life is all about learning how to love and how to value relationships and make the effort to maintain them instead of discarding them whenever there is a rift, a hurt, or a conflict. The bible told us that all of us have been given the ministry of restoring broken relationships.
Broken or cooled down relationships can be noticed at any corner. Restoring them is equal to peacemaking or peacekeeping but also not avoiding facing conflicts. Running away from a problem (and then keeping the mouth shut!), pretending that the problem doesn’t exist or being too afraid to talk about it, that’s how the hypocritical coward acts.
I always love to talk to God before I talk to a person. Later, I can find the right moment and take the initiative to restore broken relationships or face the problem. I can even look out for others’ interests first. I can use “my telescope of life” (from the Greek word “skopos”) and play close attention. I can start with sympathy but not with great solutions right away. I can confess my part of a possible conflict.
Paul said in Romans 12:18: “Do everything possible on your part to live in peace with everybody!” In resolving conflicts, a word not to be spoken may be the choicest word of all, or IF WE TALK, HOW we say it, is important.
The US-author Rick Warren confessed in one of his books: “We can establish a relationship even when we are unable to resolve our differences. Christians often have legitimate, honest disagreements and differing opinions. But, we can disagree without being disagreeable. The same diamond looks different from different angles. God expects unity, not uniformity, and we can walk arm-in-arm without seeing eye-to-eye on every issue!”
When should I stop trying to save my relationship? One of the key signs that it’s time to break up is if you’re finding that you can’t connect to your own emotions or feel strongly about your partner’s actions. Emotional detachment can happen due to abuse but it can also happen when you’re being ignored day in and day out.