We’re all familiar with the quote, “you can’t unscramble eggs,” and most of us know exactly what it means or how the saying can apply to our lives at different times. And although I’ll would usually agree with this, I do believe there are times when we should, and must challenge this statement.
The key is knowing when is the right time.
Typically these are times when we must become still, tune-out well-intentioned friends and family, pray and listen to our inner voice.
Who decides when a situation becomes irreparable or when it is time to figuratively and literally throw in the towel, in regards to believing in a person who has consistently let us down or hurt us? We all have our own set of answers for this question, (and why) and we should equally understand where our thresholds lie as it relates to turmoil, problems, conflict with others, and when the time has come to cut him/her off for good.
We can only do this when the foundations for our thresholds our built on truth, purity of heart, goodwill towards others and honesty towards ourselves.
As I reflect on the past turmoil and conflict in my life and the people who I have hurt, I realize that I am a direct benefactor of a woman who chose to listen to her heart, get quiet in the midst of noise and drama, pray and listen to her inner voice during times of our distress. That inner voice stemmed from her faith in God, trust in what she believed (about us) and ultimately the friendship we had established over the years. Was the relationship all a lie, based on a foundation empty promises or was there something there truly worth saving? Only she and I knew the answer to that question.
No one else qualified, because they weren’t involved with the intimate details of our story.
They did however see the aftermath of the pain created and naturally came to the rescue of us both, but it was up to us to remain in a place of neutrality, which at times became very difficult and sometimes impossible, hence where the scrambled eggs metaphor comes into play.
Without going into all the details, (read my post about Forgiveness to learn more) for many years I was wrong – in the forms of being indecisive, not ready to settle down, leading her on, not believing she was the one, lying to myself and her, having a dismissive attitude, and finally, straight up rejecting her. For a season, she was equally wrong, however not as hurtful, I submit, in the forms of – over protecting her heart, being seemingly transparent, (but only to a degree), and not being honest with her feelings and concerns with herself about me.
These were the ingredients for a very toxic relationship. As much as we tried during these times, we could never quite get it right. Things would be great for a season, but we would always come back to turmoil, because of what we had not dealt with independently within ourselves. Everyone that cared about us could see the turmoil and conflict that consistently arose between the two of us and they were correct (on the surface) with their advisement for us to simply walk away from one another and start new with someone else in the future, however as much as it seemed like the pieces were broken for good, our story was still not over.
No matter what is said by others during these emotionally charged times, only the ones in the relationship or the particular situation can make the decision. Not the best counselors, best friends or even loving family members understand to the degree that is necessary to make the appropriate decision regarding all the facts. This is not to say the advice given by these groups is not helpful or perhaps even life saving, but how many times have you given a loved one sound advice based on what you believed to be true, only to see them do the exact opposite of what you advised? Maybe that person was you. Either way, it is during these moments that we must realize that it’s time to take a step away and allow life to play out as it will. It can be an arduous road to take and often a lonely one, but at least the final choices are based on only those involved. Listening to our family and friends is not bad thing, but it should not be the first thing we do either. For many this is where the real problem exist. There is nothing like someone who loves us and to feel sorry for us, or to empathize with our side of the story.
Be honest, it feels good.
It’ just not always what we need to hear. When we hear the brokenness in a loved one’s voice or the anger stewing in their words about how they were harmed, it can rile every unresolved emotion that we have regarding the topic. Almost suddenly, if we’re not using good judgement, that situation will develop a life of its own (in our minds) and we’ll exert more energy towards a fix than the person originally offended. It can become a new life mission for the outsider, trying to resolve something they have no business being involved in, at least to that degree. How does this happen so quickly and so often? Simply because we all have all have a deep need to be heard and affirmed, especially when we’ve been hurt. I have learned a few tips to keep my relationship intact during conflict and turmoil.
5 Ways to Keep Your Relationship Intact During Turmoil and Conflict
1. Always give yourself time to breathe after a blow-up or fight – If you immediately run to a friend or family member, (assuming there is not a history of violence or domestic abuse) you will quickly receive advice that may deem to be unfruitful and ruin any chances for restoration. As much as we want to believe that we’re being fair as we describe the list of the events, it still comes across as one-sided and the other partner doesn’t stand a chance.
2. Never make decisions while you’re angry – I guarantee you that you are not thinking rationally while angry. Remember, anger is a secondary emotion that masks the place of the real hurt. Our focus tends to be about retaliation and revenge while things are still heated. Once we calm down we can think more clearly, and make choices based on facts versus emotions. Perhaps the answers or results will be the same, but because you have given yourself time to ponder on the whole situation, you are more likely to make a decision that you will not regret later.
3. Communicate with the person that hurt you, by telling them you need some time to think – This is not the time to play the silent treatment game. Not only is this a sign of immaturity, it can quickly dissolve a possibly salvageable situation. You may not be ready for a full dialogue just yet, but give him/her an approximate date when you’ll be ready to talk. Remember, punishment is not the goal here. It’s to utilize the time to sort through your feelings and to hopefully have a productive conversation at a later date.
4. Realize that someone has to become the champion – I learned from my partner during my tumultuous relationship, that someone has to be the bigger person. Someone has to be willing to decide if the infraction should end the relationship or not. If so, then begin the steps to do just that. If not, someone has to be willing to face the other and begin the road to recovery, no matter how difficult. Being the champion is not about who was wrong or right, it’s about understanding who and what is most important, despite the circumstances. See past the hurt.
5. Prayer – Last is certainly not least here. Get in your quiet place and seek clarity and answers that will come in the form of that small still voice. God knows everything and will give you the answers that you need by confirming them in you spirit. You simply need to be obedient to the answer(s) that you receive. Don’t over think it, just do it.
There are obviously many options available to you regarding how to handle conflict resolution. These are just a few that worked for me in my relationship and unfortunately I did not learn them immediately. It took several attempts and a very patient partner before I realized where I was falling down, but I did finally get it and she did as well.
It’s always easier to throw a relationship away than work on it, and it’s even easier for someone else to throw it away for you. Believe me I know. I’ve done it and live with that truth everyday, however I equally understand that I didn’t know what I know today and that is, even the most difficult of relationships and situations can be restored when the ones involved choose to work through them, combined with their faith. They can indeed turn around a seemingly impossible situation by learning from what was broken and starting new. That relationship will indeed be stronger and prepared to last.