Have you ever wondered why medical always wants to take your temperature? In a past life I was a microbiologist and one of the reasons they need this is to see if you have an infection. A rise in temperature is a good early warning sign that the body is beginning to mount an attack against an invasion. My role in micro was to identify the infectious agent and find the best antibiotic to use. My current role is not all that different. Over the last couple of weeks I have seen many people who suspect that maybe things were “not right” in their relationships, but lack an easy way to take the temperature. So, here are four questions to ask yourself to help you take the temp of your relationship:
1. Time? Do I want to spend time with my partner or is everything else more important? Sometimes feeling very busy at work and finishing late every day is not really about workload but these are symptoms of deeper issues in terms of relationships.
2.Encouragement? We all want it and need it, but the question is are we giving it or just expecting it? My challenge is to look for new ways every day to affirm your partner, in words and actions. The fact is the more you give it the more you will get!
3.Manipulation? It is all too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that it is your partner that needs to change. Trying to force that change will not build the relationship. Nobody likes to feel that they have been judged and pushed. Take some time to consider your motives, and look for ways to admit your share of the problem. Then you might be able to see ways you can move forward together.
4.Pain? When something is wrong it hurts. If we ignore that pain usually it gets worse! But the source of the pain is not always obvious. At one time in my past I had a back injury that gave me terrible pain down the sciatic nerve in my leg. Massaging the leg did nothing to help! The injury might be physical, mental or spiritual, and you might need help to accurately diagnose the problem and the treatment. But if there is pain you need to do something to fix it!
So, that is one way to take the TEMP of your relationship. If it is up, you may be suffering mild flu OR a life threatening infection, but for both, early diagnosis and intervention is essential.
Chaplain Ian Whitley