A couple nights ago, we had the opportunity to spend a wonderful evening with family. Part of our family is the minister who served for more than 25 years at my Dad’s church and his wife. They have become part of our family and been with us through many of the ups and downs life brings. He talked with my husband and I about our reconciliation, one which we recently celebrated by re-marrying.
I was thinking this morning about that conversation, and reconciliation. One of the parts that stands out to me is that reconciliation is just a step. So, stop there for a minute. When you think about reconciliation in general, I don’t think I’m alone in looking at it as the destination. Whether it be in a marriage, a friendship, or with someone in your family, doesn’t really matter. You go down a path where you and the other person are at odds about something, at such odds, in fact, that the bond you had between you first crumbles, and then dissolves. You come apart. And the time it takes you to work through it, to reconcile, can vary. Could take hours, days, longer, or it may never happen, it may be permanent.
Other times though, you do work through it. Maybe together, or maybe separately and then together. Your heart desires to come back together, to move past whatever it was that caused you to come apart in the first place. You reconcile.
And for many, the “reconciliation” is the ultimate goal. It’s what you have your eye on as the prize. You don’t look beyond it because all you really wanted to do is come back together. But if this is where you land, where you stop in your journey, you haven’t really arrived. Think about it. You’re back together, but chances are, you’re in the same place you left off. You reconcile, or restore, to what you previously knew. Except, that’s the state you were in when things fell apart. You’re together, but not necessarily closer.
What was shared with us is that the point, particularly in marriage, is to continue to grow closer together. Not to stay loosely holding hands, but to tighten the grip. Grow together. Deepen the marriage, friendship, family connection. It could first look like you focusing on the other person rather than yourself. Wanting them to be happy. Over time, hopefully, it will become more about “us” than solely about the other. That’s part of growth. That’s making whatever the relationship is stronger. It’s putting in the time and effort that mirrors your commitment. It’s not always easy, but growing closer together is part of the plan.
Staying at the point of reconciliation may be easy, but it’s precarious. It’s easy to knock off it’s foundation since you were at that place when you came apart. I encourage you to think about the areas of your own life where you might look to reconciliation as the end game. But it’s not the end. Growth together, towards another person…that’s the good stuff. And if something holds you back, don’t presume it’s the other person’s fault. More likely is that it’s within you. Figure it out. If you need help, find someone to help you, whether it be a trusted, objective friend, a counselor, or a coach (like me). But get help to look at your own stuff so that you can keep moving forward…drawing closer to “us.” That place? It’s a moving target, but one worth striving for.