The Real Enemy to Relationships

At the start of any coaching engagement or group workshop the conversation centers around what someone did to hurt my clients. The conflicts are real. The pain people carry is often tragic and the scars can last a lifetime. The interesting thing is when we are in pain, we fixate on what our eyes can see.  

The formula:  Person + Bad Behavior = ENEMY #1

This formula penetrates our brain, and wreaks havoc on our emotions, making identifying the real enemy challenging. This enemy likes nothing more than to keep our gaze diverted in the wrong direction so he can do his best work to make us assume the worst and lose hope. 

Relationship Killer! 

I’ve experienced this. In my most important relationships. Hope gone. Grace and mercy in question. I could see the rocks going over the cliff’s edge– that’s how close I was.   Oh yes, friends I felt like I had a choice. Maybe I did, but I’ll just skip to the end; God had another plan. 

In my own marriage it took me a long time to realize that my husband was not my enemy. Sure he hurt me with words & actions (I’ve hurt him as well) but at the end of the day he is not the one that I should be waging war against. 

As a Christian, our battle lies not in what we see but what is unseen. Ephesians 6 supports this idea: 

11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can make your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world’s darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore take up the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you will be able to stand your ground…

Daily, we are bombarded by things that can hurt us; unthoughtful words, jealousy, sickness, financial hardship, unmet needs, or closed doors to name a few.  Take a second to speak out loud, what hurts you. No one is listening, but God (even if you don’t know him). Speaking these hurts out loud will release you and will mark the beginning of healthy relationships. 

Just in case the dots haven’t connected yet, people aren’t the enemy, oh no, the real enemy is Satan. You see, he hates the God of all creation. The God who knew you before you were born. The God who had a vision and plan to bring you into existence at this point in time. You are that amazing to God and the enemy wants nothing more than to make you doubt it with every fiber of your being. 

Because you & I were created by God, to be his delight, you don’t need to listen to the enemy. Please don’t believe his lies. The real enemy wants you up at night second guessing decisions. He wants you to live in fear keeping you from engaging in what it takes to have healthy relationships. There is fullness of life & relationships to be had if we can make the choice to see beyond the real enemy’s lies.  

I can hear what some of you are saying right now.

Kristin, you don’t understand. He’s horrible. My boss really has it out for me. Everyone excludes me because I don’t measure up. That family has it all together, and my kids are a mess. Well, it is in these messes that God shows up if we let him. 

There was a time in my marriage when I knew there was something off. We held back, we didn’t communicate our dreams or share our hopes. We fought and we lost the enjoyment a healthy marriage could bring.

The result of being unhealthy?

We didn’t seek friendship with others. Our kids (very young at the time) thought they would live in two homes like many of their friends. I seconded guessed myself all the time. The image I saw in the mirror was ugly and I felt unlovable. I didn’t want to be found out. So, I held it all on my own, not a soul on earth knew our struggles.

Neither one of us knew the value of having community for the tough times, only for the good healthy times. Which is why it took us so long to talk to others about our conflicts. No one ever taught us how to put words to what we felt. I didn’t even know that words could have a positive affect to our situation. Sometimes it was like I felt so much all at once and there was no making sense of it.

Is any of this landing with you? Maybe you experienced this before, which makes me ask, how did you get through that dark time? Maybe you are in that dark place now. What holds you back from reaching out in an effort to help find words to describe what you are experiencing? 

For my husband and I it looked like this:

  • We had to trust just one person who was safe.
  • Someone who could hear our story and not judge us.
  • Someone who could support us in our next steps.
  • Someone who had the tools we needed to make meaning of our experience and then help us to heal from the past.

It was my husband who took that first step to trust. And I am so glad he did. Our problems were years in the making and it took about as long to be fully healed.

In fact, the forgiveness part of our past is a story all on its own, and I am always amazed by it when I revisit it. Remind me to share that with you.

Now that my husband and I worked really hard to heal from the past, and we know the importance of continuing to grow and learn about what it takes to have great relationships, we have a ton of tools and skills we use to protect us from going dark again. Because I had this transforming experience in my own marriage, I really enjoy being that person I described above (who could walk us out of the dark) for others as their conflict & relationship coach. The skills aren’t hard to understand or implement. But they do take diligent practice.

I encourage you to get a hold of me, or someone you already trust, to take that first step to verbalize that there is something wrong and the pain is more than you can bare alone. If you don’t have anyone you could trust, like me, take the leap and schedule a free 30-minute coaching session with me. I will work hard in that 30 minutes to get you value and explore next steps. I am looking forward to connecting with you.

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