There’s a broken drawer sitting on my dining room table right now. It’s a circa 1800’s armoire drawer. It’s seen better days. I decided three days ago I was going to fix it. It’s not a tough repair – some hardware, some wood glue, maybe a couple of tiny nails. And, yet… there it sits … staring at me, unrepaired.
“I have to finish the laundry.”
“Ooopps, I forgot to empty the cat box.”
“I gotta run to the store and do some shopping.”
“I need to finish my blog.”
I got a million of ‘em, folks. Fact is, it feels easier to keep putting off repair than to prioritize it. But, let’s keep playing out the broken drawer scenario…
I ignore the drawer for a few more days; chances are, my wife is going to start to notice. There may be a request. There may be an accusation. There could be an argument. Which ever direction it goes, left long enough, a situation will arise that will force me to do something about it. People will notice. It’ll get in the way. It’ll become a new cat box if I’m not careful! That’s right folks, I said it: If you don’t deal with your repairs, they might just gather some shit.
This may be an obvious analogy, but none-the-less apt. Couples that get in the habit of avoiding their repair, end up with crap to clean up. It usually accumulates in volume and severity. It’s said that most couples come to counseling six years too late. They finally make their way to Couples Counseling and expect things to clear up in six sessions, yet they’ve spent six years not dealing with growing resentment, unspoken hurt, and ignored pleas for change.
There’s good news and bad news about the state of repair in relationships. The bad news is it isn’t easy to do repair work. It takes bravery. You must decide to prioritize the health of your relationship. It takes vulnerability. The good news is there are hundreds, if not thousands of ways to improve your relationship repair strategies. In fact, there are 350,000,000 ways. I just Googled it.
The best news: when you practice repair, you tend to yourself and your relationship in proactive, productive and positive ways. This can result in greater peace, deeper connection and a more satisfying life. Why wouldn’t we want this outcome?
The most imperative news: we need this. Our world is struggling right now with repair. From fractured political systems, to violence in communities, right down to broken marriages, we are in desperate need for people to learn how to communicate with each other with respect, compassion, conviction, bravery and vulnerability.
So, what are you waiting for? Get started. Maybe approach your partner right now and see if you can repair on your own. If you don’t think that’ll work, investigate some other strategies. Google it. I hear there are millions of ways. As for me…I gotta go fix a drawer.