Experience,  Opinion

Strong foundations allow for growth

I posted earlier on the topic of foundations. But today, as I was perusing other people’s posts, I came across one that got me thinking about foundations in relationships again and how important they are when it comes to growth and change and risk.

When you have a solid foundation of friendship, commitment, love, respect, etc., you have the luxury of risk, experimentation, and failure without bringing down the whole building.

A strong foundation allows a relationship to continually find its wings. When one partner messes up, that foundation holds things together while everyone heals. When one or more partners wants to explore something new and it fails, the foundation is still there when the broken pieces float away.

While it’s helpful if that foundation is built from the beginning, I suppose, human relationships are messy and usually don’t follow a linear plan. We don’t brainstorm a relationship and create it from the ground up, with intricate architectural blueprints that ensure a quake-proof structure. More often than not, we start with a decent foundation formed haphazardly and without intention while dating (or however we manage to come together), then we fortify it once we realize it’s going to be asked to support us longer than we may have thought.

Then things happen that shake us, and we make repairs, going back underneath it all and adding structures and glue and tape and cement, until the base of what we have is capable of withstanding a strong wind or further damage.

If we are to truly live, we must grow, rather than stagnate. Growth, however, is naturally based in risk. And risk can lead to both positive and negative change…or failure. The hope is that we change and grow (or fail) together, continually keeping one eye on the foundation of our love and friendship.

That is the real work of a relationship…ensuring the stability of the foundation, so the rest of the structure can sway and bend and reform itself over time.

Certain ones of us are more flexible than others, which helps the structure of a relationship adapt or bound back. But even those of us who struggle with change and risk, with communication and pace, can manage slow growth over time.

During our time with the sex therapist, we have learned that our foundation is strong, but our tolerance for change and risk is not equal, and the one issue that brings us struggle (our sex life) is like a continual storm that never seems to let up. It’s like we hate rain but we live in a place where monsoons occur weekly. It’s hard to find our feet and keep hope in those circumstances. Our choices are to move (give up) or adapt and possibly thrive, learning to love our habitat.

We’re actually doing quite well right now. Our personal sex life is good, and we’re continuing to work on it. The pandemic has made some things difficult for us. Going out, dating, attempting to bring back a little swinging…those things are perpetually disrupted.

But at the heart of it all, there is the bedrock beneath us. And even if I struggle to bend, He keeps me from breaking and knows just about how far I can go.

That foundation is paramount. The most important thing we have. Our house is only as strong as what we build it on and what we build it from.

The three little pigs taught us pretty much everything we need to know about that.


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