Who loves plumbing problems? They can be the worst! Joe and I will always remember our greatest plumbing fiasco. The line from our sink that went down and through the basement had gotten stopped up. After a little investigation, Joe realized this was not just a small clog in the line. There was a huge section of pipe in the basement that was completely blocked. We had a garbage disposal but either us or the previous owners had been too liberal in how much food went down the drain! (We’ve learned since about the dangers of garbage disposals, as convenient as they are!!)
Unfortunately the only way to fix it (aside from calling a plumber!) was to cut the pipe and remove all the sludge from the line and then repair the line. Joe and a couple of his friends who were over took on this messy, smelly project. It was laughable that our drain had worked at all when he saw how much had built up. Even though I was upstairs, I could smell the stench even with the door closed. It was so, so bad.
It was one of those situations that once it happens once, you learn your lesson. We need to watch vigilantly how much food went down the sink, garbage disposal or not! This pipe cannot get this clogged ever, ever again. We need to keep this line clear so we never have to deal with that kind of clean up job again. Never again!!
The clogged pipe is one of the best ways to understand emotional connection in marriage.
Every relationship has times were there is junk clogging up the line and making you feel disconnected. You can stay connected with a little bit of build up. But if you are not vigilant about the junk you’re throwing in that pipe, eventually it will completely block the line and your relationship with feel irreparable. It will be one big nasty, smelly job to fix the line at that point.
How do you keep the line of connection clear so it doesn’t clog up?
Deal with stuff.
We’ve all heard it a thousand times, so I’ll make it a thousand and one. Don’t just bury and stuff and not deal with things that need to be dealt with. Some things you let go. Wah-lah, they are gone. But if it’s causing a clog in the pipe, it may need to be addressed directly. And gently.
This does not mean mouth off about how he or she may be failing. It’s being honest and vulnerable about what’s bothering you and not attacking the other person while doing so. For us, we try to frequently ask the question, “Are we okay?” That is a great way to address any disconnection!
Assume the best.
There have been so many times that our pipe has been clogged with things Joe said or did to hurt me, but later as it turns out, he wasn’t even meaning to hurt me. I just decided what his intentions were instead of assuming the best. I made a problem where there was none. Ain’t no one got time for that.
Guard your thought life.
Part of keeping a healthy connection is thinking positively about your spouse. If you fill your mind with critical thoughts about your spouse, you will find you don’t feel connected to him. Criticism and connection do not go together. Pick one.
When your connection is strong, your thoughts and feeling flow freely between you. Not telling each other your feelings or needs prevents connection. Even if you don’t always understand, be willing to listen to what your spouse is feeling. Don’t assume he can read your mind!
Watch out for busyness.
It’s the B-word. Having so many things taking your time that you have no time left for each other. None of this stuff can happen if you don’t actually spend time together talking. Spend time learning about each other and what make you tick. Take time to grow your friendship.
Joe and I believe the single biggest cause of disconnection in relationship is unforgiveness. Unforgiveness will cause disconnection in every relationship, every time. Yeah, you can still be married. Be together. But you will never experience true intimacy and connection if there’s stuff you’re holding onto. If you have a list.
Forgiving your spouse is one tangible way to show that you trust God and are making Him the center of your marriage. You are releasing the right to impose punishment because you know that He can deal with your spouse’s sin way better than you can. Trust God and have the hard conversations when necessary. The longer you hold onto unforgiveness- the faster that pipe will get clogged- to the point that it will hurt you even more than it will hurt your marriage. If there are significant hurts you haven’t even addressed yet as a couple, work through those hurts first (with a counselor if necessary) and ask God to soften your heart so that you can eventually forgive.
Whether you marriage is in a great place or not-so-great, pay attention to the connection pipe between you! Ask God to search your heart for what sin or bitterness you’re holding onto that may be the source of your disconnection. Honesty in marriage begins with being honest about yourself!
Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!