I recently read a series of depressing studies about marriage & relationships in modern society – where the average age of marriage creeps ever higher (which, ultimately, is not a good thing), the prevalence of broken relationships has become the new norm, and instant gratification has come to trump the rewards of delayed gratification.

And I can’t help but see in the root causes (apart from the obvious cheapening of faith) the breakdown in our standards of communication.  As we move away from “presence” and face-to-face communication to texting, emails and blogging – where the standards of communication are much lower, it seems that we keep moving farther and farther away from understanding how to resolve conflicts.

And the results are heartbreaking.

This afternoon, I was talking to one of my sons about how it has become so much easier to give up on friendships when the going gets tough than it is to work through our differences – especially if they really hurt.

In my own marriage, I was quite awful at this for the longest time – because (as a fierce competitor), conflict management was all about how to win an argument, rather than how to establish peace.  Fortunately, what we had going for us was a strong faith, and good examples in our own parents of the need to be tenacious in working out differences.  It was never really easy, but it was always worth it.

Today, I am thankful that we’ve gotten much better at such mundane but necessary things – even though it is still never easy to say – or hear – “what you did really hurt me”.  Even so, by avoiding the problems of stuffing problems (where they just grow bigger and then explode all at once) or blowing small things out of proportion (and escalating things that need not be escalated), we’ve learned how to do this.

Shane Hipps, in his book The Hidden Power of the Electronic Culture, talks about how the key thing we’ve lost today is the “power of presence” – in which we are physically, emotionally and thoughtfully present with one another – where we learn to mend our breaks with one another to become stronger where we once were broken, to dance with those who dance, and mourn with those who mourn.

Being “present” is a lot more raw and unpredictable than our esoteric exchange of electronic information – but in the end, it helps us grow toward one another, and our Creator.


This entry was posted on Sunday, November 28th, 2010 at 10:34 pm and is filed under Moral Dilemmas, Musings, Religion/Philosophy. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

1 Comment so far

  1. Brittney Nicole on December 8, 2010 11:35 pm

    I can’t tell you how important this message is. Communication is fair, good, honest, vulnerable, and such a unique gift of God that is both capacitating and limiting.

    To an extent, I ahbor technology and social networking, but just like any other gift, I feel the Advesary is working his poison to toxify and perverse the Goodness that could come from it.

    I certainly don’t have an answer, but I know there will be great losses if we allow Satan to gain control of the gifts in technology.

    Thanks for sharing. I just discovered this blog, but I have added you to my blogroll… Thanks again! Blesseings.

    Shema and Shalom*

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