We have a blue bathroom. Or rather, up until last weekend, we had a blue bathroom. Blue toilet, blue tub, blue tile walls. Very, very blue. Now? Now we have a mess. Yes friends, we are mid-stage of a bathroom redo. Since there is little about this simple redo that has been simple, sI won’t bore you with the details. Instead, I’d like to share my analogies of this makeover to relationship work.
Lesson #1: It gets worse before it gets better
The blue bathroom was not pretty, but tearing off tile, taking out sinks and finding mold has made it even less pretty. When working on relationships, it can be hard to start and can get harder and nastier before you see improvement. Hang in there; you are tearing out the old to bring in the new.
Lesson #2: It usually takes more than one person to get the job done
Neither remodels or relationships are one-person jobs. They both require more than one person to envision the end result and determine how to make that vision a reality. If you do not have the cooperation of the other person in your relationship, continue to pray that God will cause the other person to engage with you to get the work done.
Lesson #3: Sometimes the work has to be done twice
When it comes to home construction, we live by “measure twice, cut once.” Even so, sometimes things just don’t turn out as we plan. Can I get an, “Amen!”? In relational work, we may have to tweak, or redo something all together. Don’t give up—the extra work is worth the effort.
Lesson #4: The blue tub stays
All the remodel work is not being done this time around: The blue tub with the loose fixtures is staying—for a while—but we know it still has to be dealt with and it will come with more hard work, decisions, and a cost. When beginning relational work, you may find relief with some minimal repair, and possibly, some things may need to wait until the bigger issues are dealt with. Ask God to show you the big things that need to be dealt with first.
Lesson #5: It always takes longer than you planned
Home projects always take longer and cost more than one initially thinks. When correlated to relational issues, you may find relationship repair takes longer than you think it will. Stuff may come up that you did not know was there, relational black mold, for instance. This is normal. Let me say it again, this is normal. Don’t give up. Ask yourself, “How repaired will my relationship with ________ be in six months if I don’start working on it now? “
Lesson #6: This room will still require maintenance
In order to keep this room looking fresh and new, I must be diligent about maintenance. Cleaning and repair cannot be dismissed just because it will look nice when it is finished. So it is with your relationships. They still require maintenance when they are repaired and feeling new.
Lesson #7: Seek professional input
Unless the unthinkable happens (and it may!) we are doing this job by ourselves but, some other projects require professional help. I’ll tell you another time about our experience of putting in a concrete patio and we should have called in professionals. Seeking professional help can lead to better, faster results than you may be able to acquire on your own.
Janet Birkey is a therapist who loves DIY. Or rather, she likes finished DIY projects. Janet is currently working on her dissertation for a doctorate in counseling, and can’t wait for it to be finished so she can DIY more stuff in her home. Janet has been married to John for 33+ years and has two married children. Janet can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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