Reactive Vs. Proactive

In relationships, are you reactive, or proactive? What do we mean?

Do you wait for things to break before doing something about what’s actually already broken?

That’s the key right there. When things in relationships come to a head, and “break”, the evidence inherently is that something was broken that ultimately presented itself. This means that we are indeed not being proactive in building our relationships, but rather reactive. So what can hinder us from being proactive in our relationships and prevent us from building a strong foundation?

  • Unhealed childhood trauma
  • Subsequent childhood scripts dictating behaviors
  • Un-dealt with temperament differences
  • Codependency
  • Inability to have crucial conversations
  • Not building communication skills
  • Not building emotional intimacy
  • Poor or no spiritual foundation
  • Continued dysfunctional behaviors
  • Complacency
  • Much more

If we do not engage in a process that allows us to deal with all of the issues of life, we will not magically have a relationship or marriage that thrives, grows and matures over time. If we just wait for things to break before we will do something about something, is a doomed pathway, because as mentioned, things don’t generally just break for no reason. Something is already broken and has already not been addressed that has now become malignant. Complacency and “tolerating” each other can be the culprit.

Here is a quote from my book, “The Process”.

This complacency of mine was a trap, a trap that many individuals and couples fall into. It was a danger zone I came in later years to learn is called the “tolerable recovery” zone. Within this zone, couples reach a place of settling, of tolerating each other, of choosing not to address the real issues, of making room for a familiar but sterile, empty place where there is no growth, no learning about each other, and no sense of oneness.

This place is there as long as people allow it to exist. It kills relationships. It can come to seem absolutely normal, which is how it seemed to me after a couple of years with my wife. I thought this was normal in marriage. I thought I could reach a place where we could coexist in a tolerable fashion, and if you argue with each other, that doesn’t matter anyway, because everything will all go under the bridge, and not be dealt with in any effective way at all. But things don’t go under the bridge. They get swept under the rug. And eventually you have to deal with them.

The tolerable recovery zone is a place of faithlessness, but not a place of hopelessness . . . yet. That hopelessness comes later. You see, this place of tolerating allows only so much time, but I treated it like it would last forever. I didn’t realize it, but erosion was taking place. It’s like the old parable about the frog in the pan of water on the stove. Put a frog in a pan of room temperature water on the stove, slowly turn up the heat, and it won’t jump out. It gradually gets used to the temperature increase—until it boils to death.

My point here is that I was complacent, and complacency kills relationships.

When you go on like I was going on, particularly in marriage, you will boil to death. Hopelessness will set in, and disillusionment, and dissatisfaction, and these will lead to emptiness, and to crisis—even if you have fooled yourself into thinking that you’re fine.”

If this is remotely you, be bold and courageous and take a look at yourselves and your relationship. Don’t be the frogs in the pan. Be the ones in charge of the pan, the water and the stove. Be proactive and build yourself up and build your important relationships from the inside out.


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