Tool of the month—
No. 6 is a Band-Aid. A Band-Aid is used to cover wounds to keep
them from getting infected with germs. The Love Bond in our relationship
sometimes gets wounded—when it is stressed with disagreements
or crisis points—and needs to be protected from “relational
germs.” Tom and Annie’s real life examples will help
us address at least the top four relational germs.
The Band-Aid they used was their decision not
to succumb to the relational germs and to follow a predetermined
plan to prevent infection.
The first germ is withdrawal. This may include walking away during
a disagreement or crisis, closing a person out after an argument,
not working on a solution or denying that a problem exists.
There was a time when one of Tom and Annie’s
children hit teen-age turmoil. This was a pivotal and difficult
time for them. It would have been so much easier to just ignore
it and withdraw from the crisis or just let her go through her own
stuff. Or close their daughter out. They made a decision not to
withdraw from each other or their daughter and talked together about
what they would do. As they discussed the situation they first had
to accept that, “My kid’s behavior is not acceptable.”
Then they chose to stay in the discussion to get it resolved. As
a result they all worked through it together with the support of
their pastor, teachers and counselors. Today they maintain a very
loving relationship with that daughter, as well as their other children.
second germ is escalating. This may include using volume, harsh
tone or words or getting physical to deal with a disagreement or
There was a time early in their relationship, before they were married,
when Annie and Tom decided to break off their relationship. When
couples begin to question their relationship things can get ugly.
Often when there is a breakup, volume goes up, tone gets cynical,
words get derogatory and sometimes people get physical. Tom and
Annie did not allow the escalating relational germ to manifest.
Instead, they stayed friendly toward each other and joint acquaintances.
They did not embarrass themselves nor intentionally make enemies
of each other or each other’s friends. As a result is was
easy to get back together within a year when the time was right
because they did not have to heal wounds infected with escalating
germs created during the breakup.
The third germ is belittling. This behavior
often tries to solicit the support of others, and is very childish
In our world today we often compare roles in
a relationship. We may think our role is more difficult, more valuable
or more worthy. Or we may want it to be. In that case we can be
tempted to belittle someone else’s efforts and use intimidation
to exert dominance in the relationship. Tom is a pilot of a corporate
plane and Annie is a flight attendant. Tom caught himself at times
underestimating the fatigue factor in Annie’s job as if there
was no comparison to the stress factor of being a pilot. Even though
he did not escalate or withdraw he know his thoughts were not fair.
So he was quick to say he was sorry because he wanted to be a man
of character and did not want to let the germ of belittling affect
his love bond with Annie.
The fourth germ is exaggerated false beliefs.
This germ is typically driven by some kind of fear or insecurity.
This may include judging motives, being accusatory, thinking the
worst of the other person or the worst-case scenario.
One of the biggest false beliefs that affects relationships today
is, “This person is going to leave me.” Tom and Annie
remember a person that called one evening. Tom answered the phone
and one of Annie’s friends asked, “Where is Annie?”
Tom said she just went out and she’d be back in a little bit.
The friend asked, “Where is she?” Tom said, “She
did not say, but she’ll be back in a little bit.” The
friend called back almost every half hour. “Is Annie back
yet?” The friend was shocked that Tom would not know where
Annie was. Tom could have become suspicious about Annie’s
whereabouts, thinking she was maybe leaving him, but he chose not
to. His faith in her strengthened their love bond. He knew that
suspicions and exaggerated false beliefs would make his wife feel
strangled and smothered and that any partner would want to get away
from that kind of environment. Annie was back in a little while.
Protecting against these relational germs is
a choice, just as is choosing to love. Tom and Annie chose to love
each other and also chose to use the Band-Aid on relational wounds
to protect against relational germs. As a result they’ve been
married 22 years and have two children and one grandchild.
The next tool is a tape measure.