Communication is necessary to build a relationship. It often begins with superficial communication but deepens with more difficult communication.
“It is impossible to learn anything important about anyone until we get him or her to disagree with us; it is only in contradiction that character is disclosed” (Sydney Harris). We may not like that, but isn’t right? Isn’t it when there is a disagreement that we find out about the depth of a relationship? Isn’t it in disagreement when real character is revealed? Now, having said that, do not go looking for a disagreement. There is a difference between being contentious and disagreeing with someone. The contentious person is looking for an argument or a fight. Disagreements will come, but not because we are looking for them. “Friends sharpen friends as iron sharpens iron.”
We can deepen our relationships with shared memories. Shared memories form a deep bond between people. Also, shared struggles. Two who have gone through the fire together create a memory and share an experience that only deepens their relationship. What vacations do your kids remember the most? The smooth ones or the one in which the tent had a hole in it and the rain got everyone wet? This is true also with each other. Which memories mean the most to us? Those shared and honed through challenges remain the dearest. See, while we do not look for them, disagreements can create those tight bonds.
Friendships begin with such promise, but they must grow. That is also true of marriages. Remember when it was just puppy love? But then over the years, with disagreements, hardships, and good times, it has deepened. Relationships must be cultivated. Spoiling one another will never be wrong. A husband spoiling his wife or a wife spoiling her husband is a way of letting the other know how much we really care for them. Marriage partners who do not intentionally cultivate a close relationship will drift apart. When Lemuel’s mother was talking to him about the virtuous woman, she said of her, “She does him good and not evil all the days of her life” (Prov. 31:12). That is also true of a husband who wants to be virtuous. Marriage partners should wake up every morning asking, “What can I do today that is good, not evil, for him or her?” That is one way to deepen the relationship. The most important thing in a marriage is the determination that it shall persist. With such a will to do good, we each force ourselves to adjust and accept the situation which would otherwise be sufficient grounds for a breakup. Every long-lasting relationship suffers strains and setbacks. No two people agree on everything. Even the deepest and closest of relationships can expect some conflict. The question is, “What am I going to do when problems arise?”
Relationships are worth the investment. They require much of us. There are relationships which are temporary, just for a moment in time. But then there are those that are a lifetime. Both ask something from us. One is more intense than the other, but both require we give ourselves. If we want to keep these relationships whole and healthy, we must give continual attention to cultivation. They may be cultivated through disagreements.