“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeat so that you can know who you are, what you can rise from, and how you can still come out of it.” – Maya Angelou
When you think about loss or adversity, what things usually come to mind? Why is your ability to overcome adversity and loss so important for your relationship?
Dealing with any type of loss or misfortune is always tough, as our emotions try to take over and wreak havoc in our lives. Learning how to move forward through hard times is what builds our strength and resilience. Resiliency means being flexible and able to approach each situation with positivity, right alongside your partner. It’s never easy to deal with these obstacles, but doing hard or challenging things we may not want to face, allows us to develop ourselves into stronger people with greater resolve- especially for our spouses.
It’s important to stay closely bonded and allied with our spouses during times of hardship. Life is full of ups and downs. It’s kind of like a roller coaster ride, sometimes you’re climbing, climbing, climbing, and it’s not too thrilling or exciting. Other times, you’re going 100 miles an hour or rocketing down that steep descent.
Relationships have all kinds of seasons and all kinds of cycles. We believe what’s most important is having a solid foundation in our relationship to be able to overcome and navigate whatever comes our way. We work really hard in our own relationship to build and maintain that foundation.
Matthew used to teach Sunday school and still does on occasion. Many of the kids are athletes. He’ll say to them, ”Hey, if you had a chance to go play in the Olympics for the United States and soccer, wouldn’t that be an amazing opportunity?”
“Oh, yeah, I’d love to do that,” they’d respond.
They’d tell Matthew how excited they would be to play in the Olympics. When he asked if they could do it tomorrow, their fear would set in. They’d get scared and concerned. They felt that there was no way they could be prepared for tomorrow.
Matthew would then ask them if they’d be prepared to play a year from now in the Olympics. They would have the best coaches, the best trainers, the best diet, and a whole year plan with a whole team. They would see that to be at the top of your game, with a great deal of support and some time, there’d be a much different outcome.
Life doesn’t just happen on a daily basis, it requires your ability to respond to all the things that come your way based on your foundation. Building a solid foundation in your relationship is critical so that when challenges do arise, as they undoubtedly will, you’re equipped and ready to handle them.
It’s about preparation. It’s about being proactive, rather than reactive in your relationships. Invest, prepare and build a solid foundation so that when those things do arise, you’re able to navigate them.
What are some ways that you can be proactive in your relationship? How can you show up and work on things, rather than have to react in a sudden or inappropriate way because you’re forced to?
The challenge is we all have emotions. We all are human in this human experience. Our first tendency is to react based on circumstance or emotion. We’re fearful. We put up the walls. We have to be really careful that when it comes to our #1 relationship we’re responding based on our values and prioritizing our partner.
We have to ask ourselves-are we working on our commitment and our communication? Are we able to resolve conflict in a meaningful way?
About a month ago, we lost our podcast studio. Our podcast studio was an airstream trailer we called “Maynard”. We brought it up to Maine where we work for the summer. Unfortunately, it burned to the ground in an electrical fire. It was a four-alarm fire. We had 12 firemen here. It almost caught a building and part of our home on fire, but they were able to save them.
We felt devastated by this loss and adversity. We were both in tears and in shock. Two of my children were here with us. Everybody was okay. This event changed and challenged us an awful lot. We have built a rock-solid foundation on some key principles, and therefore, were able to support each other and not have our dreams be dashed. We were also able to learn how to move through it and use it for fuel to get stronger, as opposed to letting it take us out at the knees and ruin us. When you’re well equipped, you can respond effectively to these types of devastating events.
What have we learned from this event? We’ve learned that building a solid foundation in your relationship is built on spirituality first. Next, our number one human relationship, after God, is each other. We work to make daily deposits in our relationship and hone that foundation to make sure it’s solid.
Having your relationship foundation in place is huge in order to support you when devastating circumstances occur. You get out of it, what you put into it. Support each other and make sure that you each know that you have each other’s back. You are a team. Show each other support and encouragement as you go through life.
When we lost our podcast studio it could have sent us into a tailspin, but coming alongside each other and letting each other know that we’re here for each other grounded us. Knowing that the other wasn’t going anywhere and that we’re in it together helped to get out of the fog, get right, and move on.
When a traumatic experience happens and you’ve prepared and built that foundation, then you’re going to succeed.
Until next time. Remember, happily ever after doesn’t just happen. It’s on purpose.