Every marital (and close, premarital) relationship has an elephant in the room that we try to ignore. If not now, then it will happen, or it has already happened if you’ve been together long enough. The elephant is a conflict or some other problem that we don’t know how to resolve and perhaps one or even both of us don’t even want to resolve.
We try to pretend it’s not there. We survive day after day, continuing the relationship with our sweetheart by walking around the elephant’s mammoth size, turning our nose away from its stink, and trying not to step in its poop.
It’s tempting to focus on the fun side of dating and marriage, or the urgent situations that want to grab our attention, or that irritating behavior of our beloved that we’d like to gripe about. But unless we train the elephant and lead it out to where we can properly handle it, we will never experience it shrinking and morphing into something that actually strengthens our relationship.
Jesus has the answer. Jesus promised to give us the Holy Spirit, who teaches us what we need to know. Jesus provides us with the courage and strength to face the elephant squarely in the face and do what needs to be done. Very often, elephants (especially the bigger ones) need professional handlers, and Jesus will help us find the right expert if we but trust him and take a step forward.
Dealing with elephants is far better and more productive than diverting our gaze and our time. If ignored, the elephant will eventually push one of us out the door and sit on the one left behind.
- Is there anything in your relationship with your beloved that you don’t like facing and dealing with?
- Think of a past elephant that no longer hangs around. How has your relationship with your beloved improved since then?
Strengthen your relationship:
Pray together, and ask the Holy Spirit to overshadow you with a new anointing to understand and strategize the best way to lovingly deal with all conflicts and problems. Then identify an elephant in your relationship (even if it’s a small one) and give it a funny name (for example, Dumbo or Bambi or Fred if you don’t have a Fred in your life). From now on, use this name (“Hey honey, Fred is here again! I was vacuuming and he snorted peanut shells onto the floor.”) Begin talking about how to tame Fred. This is not the time to try to push Fred out of the house, but do set the stage for progress, and plan the next step.
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© 2017 by Terry Modica of Good News Ministries