I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters] by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. 1 Corinthians 1:10, NLT
One of the most popular features in the Ladies' Home Journal magazine was called "Can This Marriage Be Saved?" It featured two spouses each giving their perspective on their troubled relationship. Then a counselor would weigh in, highlighting how the couple could work out their differences and ending with the final outcome for their marriage.
If you read just a few issues of the column, you would quickly come to realize a pattern: each partner highlighted the barriers or problems in the relationship, typically emphasizing the other's faults. The counselor, on the other hand, worked to reconcile these two viewpoints and to build on what the partners had in common, such as a desire to save their marriage.
As a psychologist and statistician, I often find myself slipping into "Can This Marriage Be Saved?" thinking. After all, we know from social science that some relationships are statistically less likely to succeed than others.
But statistics and odds aren’t absolutes. We each face certain challenges to developing close, healthy relationships. Some may be external factors--such as heavy work schedules that limit how much time we spend together. Others are our own attitudes, preferences, and behaviors, including our pride, perfectionism, and fear of getting hurt.
Yet we can't let our relationship barriers define and limit us. When we recognize and acknowledge those barriers, we pave the way to overcoming them. We must always remember that, with God's help, change is possible and relationships can be healed.
Thinking about your relationships, which do you want to improve most?
Do you ever find yourself doubting that God can make that relationships better? Pray about that today.