On Monday I wrote about how establishing physical boundaries is necessary for a relationship; there are too many exceptions being made and too many people getting hurt because of it.
Another difficult issue to deal with in a relationship is the roller coaster of emotions. Inevitably there will be good times and bad times. The hope is that bad times are rare and happy ones overabundant. But the truth behind it is that it takes mistakes and corrections to understand how both of you deal with your emotions in a relationship.
Until there is affliction you may not know the type of person you are dating. The significant other could be a closet hot-head, Gandhian pacifist, or teeter-totter Sally. However they handle emotional disruption, you must first understand yourself.
What is your first reaction when someone offends you–do you lash out in anger, retreat to your turtle shell, or straddle the neutral line? If you can first understand how you react then you can begin to see how the other may respond.
Think about it, if you yell and lash out in anger you will either receive hostility back or they will take a wounded retreat. If you practice the silent treatment, they may constantly bug you for answers or produce an action out of confusion.
Being angry isn’t sinful, Jesus practiced righteous anger himself (Matthew 11:12-17). What is sinful is when you use anger to manipulate, destroy, downgrade, or negatively alter the emotions of another. As hard as it is, we need to do everything out of love, even in the midst of a crisis.
See Where You’re Going: Before you ever ride a roller coaster you always want to know where the loops and sharp turns are. When you are battling conflict in a relationship, take the time to step back from the situation and see everything that has affected it. Coming from a place of understanding as the offender or offended will help control troubled waters and bring a perspective about the situation that may calm them as well. Perhaps you could also try the “Don’t Breathe Big, Breathe Deep” tactic.
Within the whirlwind of emotions also comes sadness. There are many instances in life that can bring sadness to a relationship: family member dies, ex-boyfriend/girlfriend stirs the pot, best friend is hurtful, fired from a job. When a poor spirit enters the relationship, be ready to be the supplier of optimism and hope, joy and love. That is why you’re in the relationship anyways, to tend to the other’s need when times of hurt or pain come.
Hold On For Your Life: While on the roller coaster and defying gravity on the loops and turns, you cling to the handlebars. Sometimes the hardest part of a relationship is walking alongside someone who is going through a season of sadness or pain. They may be miserable for days, weeks, or a year. I have seen lots of people break-up because they didn’t want to be around someone who is always sad. I can understand that, but if you’re committed to the relationship and want to see it through, be ready to be the cornerstone and warrior for the relationship. Your words and actions may go unnoticed at times, but they will help bring you through in the end.
Then there is always the good times, where both parties are happy-go-lucky and overflowing with happiness. In the midst of emotional turmoil, don’t forget these moments. And while you are experiencing happiness, let your significant other know how much you appreciate them. There are not enough instances were we praise and thank those near to us for making our lives wonderful when times are good, and too many times where we focus on the past failures and mistakes, degrading the other person.
Celebrate The Ride: After the roller coaster ride is finished, celebration (or puking) occurs. Be willing to take a special time to point out the good times in the relationship, or reminisce on the highlights of your relationship. This is especially useful after enduring seasons of anger or sadness.
To read more on relationships sign-up for a FREE copy of my eBook by clicking on the cover below! It will challenge you, encourage you, slap you in the face, and grow you–are you ready to make your next relationship count?
Going Deeper: Evaluate your relationship today, have you handled the good and bad times correctly? What could you do to be a better boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife? In the comments below, could you share other ways to cope with emotions in a relationship?
P.S. If you’re in a relationship with a significant other, friend, parent, or co-worker and there is lots of anger involved, you may like to watch my teaching video on “Forget and Forgive.”