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We don’t grow by remaining comfortable. And working out by its very nature is designed to push us past our comfort zone to facilitate our growth. And much of the intensity we experience relationally is simply the workouts we must endure.

To be sure, part of what makes it a good workout when we’re training physically is to be taken past our current limits. While in the moment we might feel weak and out of breath, once we recover we can appreciate the gains we’ve made.

And this is true relationally as well.

The pain and struggles we go through with each other require a lot of us – leaving us feeling out of breath and wondering why things always seem so hard. And the pain of endurance often blinds us to the fuller reality of what’s taking place. But these moments might be best interpreted as our growing pains.

We’re being pushed past the edge of our current comfort zone and going deeper in our relationship with each other. And while it doesn’t feel good in the moment per se, we learn to trust the longer game and that a greater good is being worked out through our blood, sweat, and tears.

We’re prone to shortchange our growth when we misinterpret these relational workouts – giving up because no one else seems to be struggling as we do.

But it’s not a fair comparison to judge ourselves based on how we feel when we’re relationally winded, especially when we tend to only see others in their post-workout moments. And it might surprise us at how much stronger our relationship actually becomes because of our dedication to keep doing the work. What seems easier for others might be complacency and a lack of motivation to continue their relational training.

In the end, be kind to yourself when relational workouts are kicking your butt. But don’t give up. Growth happens as you’re pushed beyond the current edge of your comfort zone.

Photo by Akram Huseyn on Unsplash

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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