Today I’m standing on my cyber soapbox. Geared up for what I hope is a respectful rant.
After 5 decades on this planet, I am tired of the way we so easily let relationship differences divide us. So I want to proclaim 3 beliefs that I hold deep to my heart. If we embrace these 3 principles, our relationships might be forever transformed. Or at least significantly improved…
Relationship differences do not inherently divide us.
- Lucy Liberal can be happily married to Ricky Republican….
- Pro-Life Polly can be best friends with Pro-Choice Pat…
- African American Allison can warmly welcome Caucasian Carl as her son-in-law…
- Heterosexual Hal can lovingly interact with his son, Gay Gavin…
- Baptist Becky and Buddhist Beth can enrich each other’s spiritual practice….
Why? Because relationship differences are not necessarily dangerous.
- Lucy and Ricky support different political platforms. That’s not dangerous. But if either prioritizes their political views above their relationship, dangerous division emerges.
- Polly and Pat have opposing views on abortion. That, in itself, does not endanger the friendship. But if either demeans the other, or relentlessly argues for the primacy of her view, their BFF relationship erodes.
- Race does not divide humans – unless we choose to let it. Then danger emerges. If Allison prioritizes her her view of racial separateness above family relationships, she may lose a connection with her daughter and new son-in-law.
- Hal and Gavin have differing views on homosexuality. One sees a choice, the other an identity. What they do with this difference creates danger. If either looks at the other exclusively through eyes of judgment, the father/son bond takes a nose dive.
- Becky and Beth have different spiritual practices. That, in itself, does not divide them. But if either prioritizes beliefs over people, another human connection goes down the tubes. And so do opportunities to learn from each other and make the world a better place.
Relationship differences form the glue that holds us together.
If you don’t believe this, visit my business Facebook page and see how folks are weighing in on differences in a relationship. (But please come right back so I can complete my respectful rant).
In each scenario above, differences could be the catalyst for danger. If either person fights to win – on any issue in the relationship – their union ultimately loses. Just like many of us lost financially with government shutdowns and furloughs. We need a different approach…
To mix the glue that holds us together, we need to:
- Abandon the win/lose approach in relationships.
- Suspend our assumptions.
- Discuss our differences with true curiosity.
- Prioritize respect for the people in our lives.
- Seek to genuinely understand the other person.
Pick a pair above and imagine the transformation that could occur if at least one person in the relationship stopped trying to win, suspended assumptions, became curious, prioritized respect, and sought to truly understand the other.
Now pause to think about one of your own relationships. How might things change if you started mixing this glue?
As always, speak your mind in the comments below. Affirm. Disagree. Let’s make some glue!