This will be the last Axiom post for a bit, as I move on to other relationship topics – like parenting, communication, book reviews, etc. But for now…
Axiom 6 – Change is Required
Relationships are work. They take effort and courage. And just when the parts of the relationship, be it spouses, or parents and kids, or friends, think they’ve arrived at a stable, comfortable location, something changes to demand even more growth, adjustment, work, and courage. And so for this final (for now) post on the axioms of relationships, I’d like to consider the nature of change in relationships.
In my line of work as a relationship therapist, I often have the pleasure to see this principle in action. Imagine that we could take your relationship and isolate it to a very controlled environment, like a small deserted island (picture comic strip deserted island). You may still have problems in your relationships but there would be few external factors to complicate addressing your issues. But relationships don’t happen in controlled environments – they happen in real life. And so our relationships are constantly adjusting to, and shaping real life, making change inevitable and necessary for maintaining healthy relationships.
Paradoxically when there’s an absence of change in relationships, when patterns become fixed (see Axiom 3), problems develop. Flexibility is the resource that allows relationships to adjust to the demands for change. The source of demands can be both internal (personal growth and relational growth) and external (changes in family structure, additional responsibilities, changing jobs and careers, and/or societal changes). But no matter the impetus for change, it is inevitable, and generally not accidental. Change usually requires intentionality and effort, without which you’ll be stuck resisting change when your relationship most requires it.