Articles

What Sets off Your Fireworks?

The dynamics of relationships set off lots of emotional reactions in us…they just do…because we’re wired that way.

Some of our reactions (picture an explosion of hard words) are simply because we have unrealistic expectations of those around us.

Other times, our reactions can die down to a mere fizzle because nothing we do seems to make a difference.

Explosion.
Fizzle
.

Either extreme is unhealthy. But humans seem prone to live by extremes no matter what area of life they’re wrestling with…food, drink, exercise, work…you name it.

Paul Tripp comments on some common reasons we feel we are in a chronic emotional wrestling match with those around us.

Why are relationship struggles so disappointing? Why do the problems we have with other people affect us so powerfully? Why is relational disappointment one of the hardest disappointments for all of us to face? Let me suggest some reasons.

1. You were created to be a social being. You and I were never designed to live in isolation. We were not wired to be distant from and unaffected by the people around us. In fact, since we were created in God’s likeness, desire for and participation in community is a fundamental part of our humanity. To deny this aspect of your daily life would literally be to deny your humanity. There would be something dramatically wrong with you if you removed yourself completely from other people. What this means is that the hurts of relationships cut deep.

2. We all tend to enter our relationships with unrealistic expectations. Somehow, someway, we are able to swindle ourselves into thinking that we will be able to avoid the difficulties that attend any relationship in this broken world. In the early days of a relationship we work to convince ourselves that we are more righteous, and the other person more perfect, than we and they actually are. This causes us to be shocked when an unexpected but inevitable difficulty gets in the way of the bliss that we had convinced ourselves that we had finally found.

3. We all tend to seek to get identity from our relationships. What does this mean? It means that we tend to look for fundamental personal meaning, purpose and sense of well-being from other people. In doing this, we turn people into our own personal messiahs, seeking to get from them what no other human being is ever able to deliver. That other person is not supposed to be the thing that gets you up in the morning. They are not to be what makes life worth living for you. When they are in this place, you have given them too much power and you are asking of them something that no flawed human being can ever pull off.

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