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Tool of the month— the Band-Aid

Tool 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.

The second germ is escalating. This may include using volume, harsh tone or words or getting physical to deal with a disagreement or crisis.
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 and immature.

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.

 

 

 

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