“Relationships of all kinds are like sand held in your hand. Held loosely, with an open hand, the sand remains where it is. The minute you close your hand and squeeze tightly to hold on, the sand trickles through your fingers. You may hold onto some of it, but most will be spilled. A relationship is like that. Held loosely, with respect and freedom for the other person, it is likely to remain intact. But hold too tightly, too possessively, and the relationship slips away and is lost.”
Every relationship is different and yet the basics of every relationship are the same. We depend on our spouse to support us in everything we do. Most of the time we don’t realize just how much we depend on the support, concern, and help we get from our spouses. Then there are those of us who support a little too much and end up pushing our loved ones away. Trying too hard and over compensating because of personal fears, whether realized or not, can be a drastic and deadly turn for a relationship.
Each relationship we enter affects us in some way. Relationships can have positive and negative effects on us long after the relationship is over. For example, you are in a committed relationship for a few years. You think that your relationship is ideal. You each are loving, attentive, and supportive of each other. One day you become aware that your spouse has been unfaithful. Suddenly what you once believed to be a great and honest relationship is now a big mess of confusion and hurt. Your relationship ends with tears and anger. Months after the breakup you meet a great person who seems to be even greater than your last spouse. Yet in the back of your mind you constantly wonder if this relationship is true and real or if in fact it will end up being the same as the last. Constantly wondering and worrying that something bad is going to happen instead of embracing the good in what you have will ultimately end your next relationship too.
Though it is hard to let go of past behaviors, and embrace new beginning’s a new start is the best way to begin a relationship. Our fears can consume us and lead us to smother our spouse to the point where they can’t stand it anymore. Sometimes in relationships you need to have some alone time. Just like the saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder” in real life relationship space is needed to let us know how much we really appreciate and love our spouse.
This quote can also apply to relationships between a parent and child. If we coddle our children for too long they will be unable to fend for themselves when the time comes and ultimately cause them to hold a grudge. A parent’s ultimate duty is to raise their child. Raising a child doesn’t only mean making sure they survive until adulthood, but is also making sure they know how to survive on their own. Many times as parents we hold our children too closely and end up creating contempt in our children’s hearts. For example you have a child who asks for things and gets them every time. Your child grows older and reaches their teens. Your teenager asks for things and gets them every time. Your teenager graduates high school and becomes an adult. You think that this means they will move out, get a job, go to college or any number of things an 18 year old adult should do, but this doesn’t happen. Your adult child now goes about their days as if it were summer break. They ask for things and they get them. Finally you get frustrated and tell your child they need to get a job to earn their own money. Your adult child is outraged at this thought. Why should they go and get a job when you have been supporting them completely for the last 18 years? What has changed? Resentment grips your child’s heart and causes your relationship to collapse. Years later after your child has been out on their own they come back and apologize for how they treated you because now they realize that you only had their best interest in mind.
The scenarios can be so very different if we coddle our children but the end is always the same. Resentment and anger will be your child’s weapons but what causes this ultimately is fear. By holding on to tightly to our children we keep them from embracing life itself. If you give your child a car, insurance, cell phone, and money it is easy for them to think they will always have them for free from you because that is how it has always been. We need to instill independence in our children and not hold them too tightly because what we think is just immense love is actually destroying the great independent adult they could be.
Take a look at the relationship you are in now, whether with your child or your spouse and determine if you are holding on too tightly. It is an easy habit to fall into and a hard one to break but if you try hard enough you can make a good relationship into a great one. Don’t question little thing your spouse does, let them have some alone time. Let your children grow up with the knowledge that things are easy now but one day you will need to work for what you have because I won’t be there to pick you up when you fall.