This past week a single theme seems to have woven itself in and through almost everything I have been involved with, namely, the painful process of trying to re-build broken relationships. Be it marriage, work, or family relationships— they are all vulnerable to breakage.
There are basically three scenarios that I have witnessed:  At least one party is ambivalent about wanting the relationship to work and this results in a very long and difficult journey with an uncertain ending. It is saturated with mixed messages and can also be quite abusive.  Both parties want the relationship to (re)-work. This means they are 90% there already.  One party wants out and their mind is made up—here there is nothing one can do to save the relationship. Energy and focus should turn towards working for as “healthy” a breakup as possible. All three scenarios would be best served if we were all better able to genuinely dialogue with one another. These words by author, Elizabeth O’Conner may help us:
“Dialogue is more than your giving me space to say my words, and my giving you space to say yours. It involves our listening. We are all very different. We cannot have dialogue unless we honour the differences. How can I build a bridge across the gulf between me and you unless I am aware of the gulf? How can I communicate with you unless I see how things look from your side? Dialogue demands that I leave the place where I dwell—the landscape of feelings and thoughts that are important to me—in order to dwell for a time with your thoughts, feelings, perceptions, fears, hopes. I must deny myself—forsake the familiar, give up my life—in order to experience your life.”
May we be helped to experience another’s life….Alan