What is that one thing, which can really make, or break, any relationship? It does not really matter what type of relationship, whether it be a work-relationship, friendship, romantic-relationship, child-parent relationship, or even a relationship with your neighbour, there is this one thing, which can either make or break, any one of those relationships. Yes, that one thing is, whether or not you are in agreement.
Let’s take a closer look at it, say you have a pet, a cat or dog, or even what you consider an exotic pet, it doesn’t matter, any pet. Say you love this pet, let’s give it a name, Patty. Every day you feed your Patty, and you take good care of your Patty, you go out of your way, to give your Patty every and all things, your Patty needs, because you love this Patty. You tell your Patty what a good pet your Patty is, and you stroke its head and rub its belly, and show it your love and affection. You really go all out, to prove to Patty, that you love Patty. Yet, in spite of all your love and affection, your Patty has this nasty habit, of always defecating in the most undesired places. On the kitchen table, on your favourite chair, on your pillow, in your slipper, and all kinds of awkward places, and that in spite of your efforts, to try and teach it, to use the clearly marked spots, which you designated for such things. You love Patty, but this blatant disregard of your private space, and clear invasion of that space, really frustrates you. What can you do? You love your Patty, but Patty does not respect your rules and boundaries, what to do? If only Patty respected you enough, to agree with you.
What about a human relationship, human to human? Are these any better? After all, humans are much smarter than animals, aren’t they? Say it’s a love or romantic relationship, a relationship between a man and a woman, two people, who really love each other. Let’s call them Jeff and Jenna. Now Jeff loves Jenna, and Jenna loves Jeff, they constantly whisper it to each other, and seal it with a romantic kiss, they agree. Yet, that’s about all they can agree on, because when they go out to lunch, and order a large pizza to share, they can’t agree on the toppings, or when they go to see a movie, Jenna likes drama and Jeff likes comedy. Jenna likes vintage furniture, and Jeff likes contemporary, Jenna loves old buildings and Jeff likes new designs, Jenna likes jazz music and Jeff likes pop-rock, and on and on it goes. Now these two assure their friends, that these differences, are what makes them happy, after all, if it works for them and they’re happy.., but after a while, these differences, are starting to eat into their “happy relationship.” Jeff comes home, after a long day at work, and finds that Jenna, cooked her favourite dish, which is a chicken dish, but Jeff loves steak. And then, Jenna is surprised, when Jeff plans a romantic camping trip, for just the two of them, when he knows she is a beach person, who likes to meet new people. The two of them are just not in agreement, yes, nobody is perfect, but both Jeff and Jenna begins to realize, it’s just a bit too much, when Jeff says no kids and Jenna wants six.
Across the road from Jeff and Jenna, lives Lizz and Lenn, now these two, are a real happy couple, they see eye to eye on all things, no really, they do. Lizz wants to be a-stay-at-home-mum and Lenn is a doctor. Lenn likes action-packed movies, and so does Lizz, Lizz loves chocolate and fudge, and so does Lenn, Lizz doesn’t like cooking, and likes to order in, and Lenn supports her. Lenn gets up early, five days a week, for an early morning run, and a good work-out, and Lizz sleeps in, Lenn supports her. Lenn postponed settling their mortgage loan early, which helped finance his studies, to buy a new sports car, and Lizz supports him. Isn’t that great? They are in agreement!! Yet friends, the relationship of Lizz and Lenn, is as unhealthy, as the relationship of Jeff and Jenna. How so?
For starters, agreeing with someone, just for the sake of not wanting conflict, is not good. Lizz and Lenn, are not really happy, even though they seem to agree with each other, on all points. First of all, Lizz does not like action-packed movies, but she says she does, just to spend more time with Lenn, she really likes romantic comedies, and she really wants to start her own business, but Lenn always says, how he always wanted the mother of his children, to be a-stay-at-home-mum. Lenn on the other hand, likes chocolate and fudge, but he doesn’t love it as much as Lizz does, he is a doctor, and knows the effect of too much sugar on a person’s body, and he would much rather prefer, for Lizz, to cook healthy-homemade-meals, than order in. He also knows, that Lizz’s Laziness, is not good for her health either, he would prefer, for her to develop an exercise plan for herself too, but he does not tell her that, because she will assume that he thinks she’s fat. Little does Lenn know, that Lizz, is not fine with him choosing to buy a new sports car, for his ego, instead of settling their mortgage debt early, and Lizz is not aware, that Lenn, really wants to work at the local community health centre, to help the poor, but he thinks she won’t respond well to the idea, since his salary will be cut in half, and that’s why he bought the sports car, out of frustration. You see friend, there is power in agreement, but not at the cost of honesty.
The idea of agreement is rooted in two, or more parties, finding some common-ground. Both Lizz and Lenn, likes watching movies, that is settled, but that, however, does not mean, that they have to like the same type of movies. Lizz can like her romantic comedies, and Lenn his action-packed movies, Lizz can communicate that to Jeff, and the two of them, can then agree to watch two movies at a time, one of each. Or, if they really can’t stand to watch those types of movies, they can find some mutual activity, like riding a bike, or taking a long walk along the beach, which they both agree on, and where they can spend time with each other, but lying, and pretending to agree with the other, when they don't, won’t help. Lasting relationships are not built on lies, but on Truth, lies are like hidden cracks, which will eventually show up, even though concealed for a time. Pretending to agree with someone, just to keep the peace for a moment, can be the cause of a lifetime of regret. If you really love someone, show them who you truly are, and if they really love you, then they will accept you, for who you truly are, and not a plastered over version of the True you.
“Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.” (Proverbs 19: 20 NIV)
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