The one you love is going to hurt you. I know it’s disappointing, because no one wants to be hurt by the one they love. But it’s going to happen. Not because they’re a bad person, but simply because they are human. Humans are flawed, have a propensity to think of themselves before others, and make mistakes. Scripture reminds us “There is no one righteous, no not one” and “all have sinned and fallen short.” The one you love is going to hurt you.
Avoiding hurt in relationships is a hopeless proposition. The secret is that it’s not about avoiding hurt. It is about knowing what to do when you are hurt.
God knows all about being hurt by the one you love. He loves you. He loves me. He knows we have, and will continue, to fall short and hurt him. We hurt him by all the ways we choose ourselves over him, just like we hurt each other in relationship. But that doesn’t stop him from loving us. What’s more, he chooses the suffering of being hurt by the ones he loves rather than be without our love.
We hurt the ones we love in the same way our sin hurts God. He says our sin separates us from him. We know this is true from our own relationships with each other. When the one you love hurts you, you feel separated from them. There is a break or at least a fault in the relationship.
So, what do you do when the one you love is going to hurt you? The answer lies in this truth: Relationship wounds are healed in relationship. We long for the one who hurt us to redeem us. We want the guilty party to make us right again. Unfortunately, our flawed nature often turns to blame and accusation rather than repair and reconciliation. However, God, the example of perfect love, does something very different with us.
When God could have demanded for us as the guilty party to go first to make things right, he chose to go first. “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God embraced his suffering instead of rejecting it. He went first to restore our relationship. And he calls us to follow his example with each other.
True repair requires our longing to reconcile to be more important than our desire to blame. God’s path to repair is this: love first, accountability second.
In repair, we affirm our love before, during, and after accountability. Repair affirms my true importance to the who hurt me. Leaning toward the one that hurt me reaffirms that, despite their mistake, they are still loved. As we grow, we learn the areas we injure each other. The perfect relationship is one where we protect the one we love from our weaknesses, and then repair well when we fail.
The one you love is going to hurt you. But that’s okay. Because you love them. And they love you. So, pursue the perfection of relationship- in injury, repair, and joy. All it takes is some hard work. So lean in. Take a risk. Get help if you need it. Love is worth it.
For help in working through the process of repair in marriage, consider attending our 2 day workshop Created for Connection on September 25 & 26, 2021. Go to inrelationship.us/workshops for more information.
Aron Strong, LMFT, is the director of Pathways Counseling in Murfreesboro and the co-founder of inRelationship, a company which offers marriage workshops, online courses, and a podcast.