Most of us have this crazy idea that fights are to be avoided at all costs. We don’t want to argue because it is ugly and messy. But this post says simply: fighting is the only path to deep relationships.
Just think of it: sipping a cool drink and enjoying a warm breeze in a comfortable chair. The sound of seagulls and water hitting the surf surrounds you. As the palm trees swing lazily and the sun beams down, you smile to yourself. You have made it.
This is the feeling many people initially experience when they cut themselves off from others. You know the scenario because it plays itself out in lives all around us. A man who gets a new position and separates himself from old friends. A lady who feels that she can no longer associate with a certain group. Yeah, the freedom and peace of the island is great, but often it only lasts for a brief moment.
Sometimes it is society or a cultural group that imposes this idea of cutting ourselves off from others. I recently watched a minister’s wife tell her friends that she could no longer speak with them on the same level because she was now their superior. You and I may look at that and think of how crazy it all is, but imagine the feeling of superiority and strength she felt on her newly created island.
What about the guy who gets a promotion over his peers and rather than hanging out with them, walks out on them. I do not mean the one who legitimately has to eat with a different crowd or be in a different office or even walk with his superiors. I am speaking about the one who separates because they feel like they have arrived and do not need their old friends.
I really must clarify. There are certain people in your life who claim to be your friend, but just drag you down. There are those who refuse to grow with you and though your relationship was real and deep once, it is only a shell of what it was. Those friendships should die. If that is where you are, you must evaluate that. I am not speaking of those legitimate cases of moving on, because those who are quick about putting themselves on an island are usually arrogant and foolish.
The island is a dangerous place. It feels great. It feels peaceful and new until you realize how isolated you really are. I’ve seen people over the years who pushed their true friends away and embraced a new group only to find out that their new group didn’t care for them. Surely you have seen it, too. Men and women hurting, but with no place go since they have burned valuable bridges.
If there is one thing we all need, it is connectedness. I need you and you need me. In depression or shame, we just want to hide or run. I get it. I have been there. Yet, that is the worst response possible.
The sounds of water rushing to the shore and seagulls will frustrate you. The sun beats down mercilessly and the palm trees seem to mock you. The island becomes a trap and a prison, instead of a haven. Your mind will fill with thoughts of all you left behind and what was.
Stay away from the island, unless you are going for a really short vacation.
…to have and to hold, for better or for worse…
The difficulty in most marriages is we go to one extreme or the other. We either have one another for life, i.e. we are committed, but not excited and desirous of one another. Or, we hold: we have a great desire for each other, yet lack a long-range commitment and shared goals for the future.
I want to share this tremendous TED talk about the difficult tension in marriage: desire and companionship. “Esther Perel argues, good and committed sex draws on two conflicting needs: our need for security and our need for surprise. So how do you sustain desire? With wit and eloquence, Perel lets us in on the mystery of erotic intelligence.”
Take a look. When you’re done, I would love to hear your feedback on this short video. (The talk is also available as a podcast on iTunes via TED Talks.