Relationships are intense. And the closer the relationship the more intense it becomes. Whether in marriage or friendship, family life or work life, committed relationships all come with regular moments in which we’re tested and brought to our edge through our connection with each other. To be sure, this relational crucible is not pleasant to endure, but it has a necessary refining quality all the same.
For instance, a large part of the intensity in marriage is simply that we’re two different people trying to do life together. Our gender and personality differences, not to mention just basic personal preferences, all can cause sparks to fly in trying to navigate life.
But the point is not simply to avoid these conflicts. These conflicts are part of the relational crucible needed for our growth and maturity.
For example, we’re given the opportunity for deeper self-reflection when our wife pushes our buttons. Why does this get under our skin so much? What’s worth fighting for here? And what’s better to simply let go?
The conflict gives us a chance to discover what’s really important to us – things we might not have clearly articulated before. And this opens the door for us to change our dance with each other for the better. In fact, our relationship remains stagnant when we avoid conflict or simply blame each other for the difficulties we face.
As such, the relational crucible is not an indication that something is wrong in our relationship. It’s actually a sign that we’re staying engaged with each other and that we’re ready for our next level of growth.
Like the refining fires of our faith, our relationships also serve an important role in being transformed into the image of Christ. Through our relationships we’re refined to become more loving, patient, and kind with each other and ourselves.
Don’t lose heart when the intensity of your relationship heats up. This is often the relational crucible needed to refine you – bringing out the best in you and the other in your life together.