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We each grow at different rates. And occasionally we find ourselves in relationship with someone who is at a different stage of growth than ourselves. This doesn’t have to be a deal breaker for the relationship, but it does require a shift in our perspectives.

Some relationships are inherently mismatched – the parent-child, teacher-student, and trainer-trainee type relationships, for example.

However, in most of our adult and non-working relationships we expect a fair degree of mutuality.

In marriage and friendship, for instance, we tend to want an equal partnership. And we usually start these relationships as true peers.

But over time we might grow at a faster pace than the other and soon realize we’re no longer at the same level. And this is more likely when we focus our growth in different areas.

As we grow in spiritual depth, for example, they might want to focus on growing relational intimacy. And in the end we’re both frustrated as now our focus and levels of growth are mismatched.

Whatever the case, it’s not unusual for us to eventually find ourselves in relationship with someone at a different stage of growth.

Once we realize this, our first step is to accept and grieve our disappointment. As much as we want to be at the same level this is not our current reality.

We’re then free to meet the other wherever they’re at in their journey without the expectation or demand for them to be at our same level.

This allows us to maintain a meaningful connection with them and perhaps become a humble guide.

Demanding we always stay at the same level diminishes what influence we have.

Continue your journey of growth and be patient with those who might be a few miles behind.

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist - providing Christian counseling and soul care to individuals and couples, with a special emphasis on developing the masculine soul. Suwanee, GA 30024

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