We don’t often talk about how to maintain or repair a relationship. Let’s be honest, relationships take work!

02/28/2018 .
Ryan Banderas  .  Saddleback Singles Leadership Team

Working It Out

There have been many conversations about how to find the love of your life or how to work on your own personal health, however, we don’t often talk about how to maintain or repair a relationship. Let’s be honest, relationships take work! Sometimes that work is fun, such as going out on dates and getting to know each other better, and sometimes that work is challenging, such as healing from a hurt and repairing brokenness. Below are some answers to common questions about dealing with relationship struggles. 

 How long do you give someone to work on something before ending the relationship?

Unfortunately, there is not a one size fits all response. First, we should accept the reality that while relationships have the potential to be fairly sweet and simple, they are often terribly complicated. When any two people with separate minds, expectations, pasts, and sets of baggage come together, the future will not likely be a smooth one. Problems and issues will undoubtedly arise and must be dealt with in order to grow and move forward as a couple. It’s important to realize that no one can change anyone; the other person has to change by and for themselves.

The time period to stay in a relationship all depends on how long you have been in the relationship, what the issues are and the individuals themselves. In general, if there is a strong, consistent, effort and noticeable improvements with minimal backsliding, I would say a few months is a good time to see if long-term change is possible.

How do you repair a relationship?

If you both decide to continue the relationship, there are some steps that both parties need to take in order to move forward. The first and most important step is forgiveness. This may involve counseling and prayer, but both parties need to forgive before they move forward. Next would be communication. Have an honest conversation with your partner about expectations, guidelines, what is and is not acceptable and the consequences of breaking these boundaries. Another factor would be accountability; make sure your partner is taking reasonability when they are at fault. Repairing a relationship is not easy, but it is possible with these steps and God’s help. Remember to be in constant communication with God and pray for wisdom as you navigate your relationship.

How do you end a relationship in a healthy way? 

If you come to the conclusion that the relationship is not salvageable and you can’t move forward, this is how you want to end it in a healthy way. First, end it quickly. The more time you drag the process on, the more difficult the breakup will be. Second, be honest and direct. State clearly why the relationship is not working and why you can’t move forward. Next, be firm. God says to “speak the truth in love,” and by doing so, it will help to minimize any hurtful feelings as much as possible. Finally, don’t send any mixed messages. If it’s over, it’s over; changing your mind between breaking up and reconciliation may only cause more hurt and confusion.  If you have stayed in close confidence with God and prayed over your relationship, then you can go out in the world with confidence that you’ve made the right decision.