Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Top Ten Reasons Relationships Are So Messed Up, The Top 25 Reasons...

...uh, The Top 472 Reasons...

...m-m-m-m, The Top Reason...

Today in church I begin a little sermon series entitled, "When Relationships Are The Pits." In a moment, I will tell you what is believe is the only real reason they are so bad. Before I get there, though, let's review how this subject is often covered in our culture. We hear statements like...

"The number one marriage stressor is money. Remove the stress by taking this class..."

"Are work pressures destroying your personal life? Learn how to be your own boss..."

"Unlock the secret that will make him never look at another woman!"

You get the picture. Everyone knows that our relationships are bad, be they in marriage, at work or between nations. Every book, magazine, class or counselor seems to have an interpretation of the problem and a solution that will make it better.

I have a reason that I didn't come up with. And I plan to share it with you. But you have been great about feedback lately and I'd love to hear your thoughts before I give mine. This is not a trick so I can correct you. Rather, it's a way for me to receive help from you as I think my way through the next several weeks of teaching on the subject. Therefore...

Please give me an example of a "Relationship In The Pits." Then, please tell me how you think it got there.

I can't wait to hear your stories.


Liz said...

I've got many failed relationships in my past- including a marriage. And the one thing that most have in common... "Expectations."

I had ideas in my head of how things should be instead of working with how things actually were. In a sense, I was denying reality.

I married my first husband believing that he would change the thing that eventually ended our marriage.

With friendships, I often find myself disappointed because I have certain expectations that can't be met because they aren't of the same importance to the other person. So I have to either choose to accept them the way they are and adjust to it (and that may mean that person isn't as close a friend as I'd like) or I may end up entering into some destructive choices (fights or holding on to resentment) that end the friendship.

So for me... I've had to learn a lot about expectations!

Scott said...

I almost had a failed marriage and by God's intervention and grace it was saved. What I have learned from it and many relationships that I have been associated with is that we miss the second greatest commandmentm, to love your neighber as much as yourself. We don't see our spouse as our neighbor so we don't love them as much as we love ourselves, but because we are married to them we think we have the right to be God over them. The tension in this concept comes becuase you can't love something as much as yourself, unless you are willing to sacrifice something of yourself and many people aren't willing to do that unitl it's too late.

Scriptor Senex said...

Without going into any specifics I think the majority of relationships collapse as a reesult of one or both parties failing to understand (or attempt to understand) the needs and wishes of the other. If you can put yourself in someone else's shoes and then make allowances accordingly you are at least half way to making any relationship work.
(I wrote this before reading the comments of Liz and Scott - both, I think, show elements of the same idea.)

Julie said...

In line with the past three comments, I think it comes down to mutual submission. As humans it's so hard to submit to each other, but if we'll focus on submitting to God, submitting to each other becomes a lot easier. In fact, if we'll focus on submitting to God, everything becomes easier. It seems like I have to learn this lesson over and over and over! Maybe there's some practical step I need to take to move it from "Desire to Discipline to Delight?"

Luis Delgado said...


"The glory that you gave me, I have given, to be one, as we are one. I in them, and you in me to be perfect in Unity, for the world to get from you sent me, and that you loved them as I too have loved you "(John 17,22-23)

Unity is one of the most valuable and beautiful ideas which are highlighted in the Scriptures. Appears implicit in the moment of creation when God begins to order selection, beauty, diversity, and life to things. Because the creation reflects the Unity of God.
Even the participation of the Triune God reflected Unit, when God uses the plural word "make man in our image, after our likeness" (Gn.1, 26). But the Unity of God is the one element that permeates so also in the man that he is "image of God" (Gn.1, 27). That is, does that image fit the man to be in unity with God, that God speaks to this subject and to God.
But God added a second unit in the form of a man and a bookshop in this loneliness. God created women to be both close to varon "one flesh" (Gn.2, 24). In this way there was a paradise in the perfect unity of man with God and of man with his wife (his neighbor).
Perhaps for this reason it is emphasized that the Lord Jesus as the great commandment to love God and love of neighbor (Matthew 22,36-40). The tragedy begins when these two types of unit were desecrated following the fall of man in sin. And because of sin by the idea of "unity" turns off the conscience of man. From here, the history of humanity is darkened in a series of events that make the man on a destroyer of all forms of unity. Despite the darkness that gripped humanity, God irradio again the idea of unity in some people such as Noah, Moses, Josue, David, Elias, and so on. However, obscurantism prevalecia more in the heart of man. But God had already devised a way in which the unit is made permanent, and did so with the appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ in human history. So that the Lord Jesus becomes an example of "Unity incarnate," the example of the true man of God united in perfect shape. Jesus is the light of unity that could remove the humanity from the darkness. But as the Unity of God aims to link back to men with their Creator, the unit has been, is and always will be the subject of relentless attack spiritual and earthly forces that oppose it. The Lord Jesus Christ suffered these attacks. His death apparently seems to be the triumph of the opposing forces on the Unity of God, but the resurrection of the Lord Jesus speaks more to the defeat of these forces and the resurrection of the Unit. From here the Unity of God begins to take effect on the fragile minds of men guided by the Holy Spirit, and takes its group with the appearance of the Church of Christ. Finally, the apocalypse describes the ultimate triumph of the Unity of God over all the opposing forces, and the exaltation of that unit that has always existed in eternity: God and the Lamb (Revelation 22:1). It also presents the final work of God on the conscience of man to forge unity in the idea of permanently improved over humanity (the sons of God).
No doubt that anything exists, the unit is the most glorious God who has witnessed the man because the unit is not only an idea but an attribute of God and that He would like to share with their sons.

C. Beth said...

First I'd like to bring us back to the story of Jonah....

Just kidding.

I think the overarching concepts have been covered well in previous comments--especially loving one's neighbor as oneself. What I'd like to add isn't necessarily the biggest reason relationships fail, but maybe it's one reason.

It seems like it's important in relationships (with spouse, friends, God, bosses, coworkers, etc.) to be content at the same time we're seeking growth.

In contentment we can truly say, "I love you EXACTLY as you are, TODAY, and I want to stay in this relationship, EXACTLY where it is, TODAY."

In seeking growth, we say, "I love you enough to want to learn to love you more. This relationship is important enough to me that I will joyfully do what I can to make it easier for you to love me more." (In our relationship with God, instead of wanting Him to love me more, I can seek to understand and experience more of His immense love.)

For me, seeking growth is easier than being content. I think for The Engineer, being content is easier than seeking growth. Which I guess means we both have a lot we can learn from the other one! I would imagine this is the case in a lot of marriages.

Sam said...

Most of you are answering very similarly. Maybe I'll just take the day off tomorrow.

Just kidding!

Anyway, thank you all (so far). Liz and Scott, thank you both for sharing a part of your own journeys. I hope to hear other stories in the next few days. The visual cues I received as I preached this morning tell me that this is a hot topic.

addhumorandfaith said...

Lack of communication hurts any marriage. Loving communication helps every marriage.