The only way you can reap the harvest in the fall is to plant in the spring and to water, weed, cultivate, and fertilize during the summer.
You and I understand this when working on the farm; however, when it comes to our relationships with others, we often practice quick fixes.
There is one principle that applies to all relationships, whether that be a spouse, child, or friend. When understood, this principle will fix almost any dissatisfaction we have in a relationship. The principle is this:
Chronic disease almost always precedes acute pain.
Chronic vs. Acute
Acute pain is immediate. You feel it right now. Chronic disease is the persistent, continuing discomfort that underlies the acute pain.
Everyone wants sharp pain to be relieved immediately. But the promise of pain relief is deceptive. You may temporarily solve acute pain with a drug, but there is no quick fix to chronic disease. To solve chronic problems, you must apply natural processes. You must plant in the spring and water, weed, cultivate, and fertilize in the summer.
A good example of this deception would be students in school: How many students cram right before a test? How many of them get good grades, even graduate degrees, by this tactic? Inwardly they know that they didn’t get the best education possible because they didn’t pay the price day in and day out. Rather, when they were hurting in one area, they worked on that immediate hurt. Then, when another crisis broke out, they ran to that.
You can see why we get in the habit of doing this with other things in life, particularly social problems. We want broken relationships to be instantly repaired. What we find, however, is that the more we seek quick fixes and attempt to apply some gimmick, some technique, that seems to work for someone else, the worse the chronic problem becomes.
This lifestyle will break you and I down and burns us out. Our capacity to relate well with others, particularly under stress and pressure, is reduced to a minimum. Our life will then become a function of what is happening to us. We eventually become victims to everything around us.
I write frequently about the importance of and health benefits to developing strong relationships. This is one of the reasons I believe group workout classes are so important.
But the more I write about this, the more I realize that I’m preaching to the choir: the vast majority of you desire to be closer to family members, friends, and others.
That being said, I believe the reason I (and probably you) don’t always implement a strategy that will bring us closer to others is because we get distracted. Our cell phones, apple watches, and TV screens distract us from connecting with those we love the most.
Chronic problems within our relationships are often detected with acute pain. But make no mistake: the solution is in long-term, persistent effort. One weekend or vacation won’t solve the underlying current of bad habits.
We must connect, day in and day out, if we are to reap the harvest from developing and maintaining strong relationships.