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Personally speaking

Under Construction

New Worlds to Discover

Who is the boss?

New Worlds to Discover

David Brandt Berg

Our lives involve all sorts of relationships. In fact, relating to people is largely what life is about. Relationships, when based on the right foundation and growing in the right direction, are wonderful, rewarding experiences. Each new relationship also brings with it an exciting new set of challenges and surprises. And of course no relationships are as challenging or full of surprises as romantic relationships.

Opening your life to that special someone is like opening the door to a vast new world beyond what you've known so far. You discover the world through another's eyes; you feel the world through their emotions; you view the world from a different perspective. Now you have not only your own but also their feelings, opinions, and preferences to consider. You discover what makes them tick and how they think. You learn to put their needs before your own, and in the process you also realize things about yourself that you never knew before.

A key asset to a good relationship is honest, open communication. Be honest about your feelings, your needs, and what you like or don't like. Share your desires, hopes, goals, and dreams. Communication will help you avoid misunderstandings and solve many problems while they are still small.

You have to know what to say, how to say it, when to say it, and even whether to say it. But if you build the bond between you on that kind of communication, and if you keep at it through the years, then love will thrive.

It is natural, after a while, for couples to think they know each other inside out and therefore need to communicate less. Some couples even stop communicating altogether. But the truth is that two people can't know each other well enough to stop communicating and not have problems, because people change. Everyone has somewhat different needs and thinks somewhat differently today than they did a year ago, or a month ago, or even yesterday. So if a couple stops sharing their minds and hearts because they think they've got everything figured out already, they will miss these changes. When that happens, each person begins to think that the other one doesn't understand them, and that may be true; maybe they understood them last year or last month or last week, but they won't understand them today unless they communicate. Better communication can make the difference between a cold, drab, routine, humdrum existence and a warm, loving, fun relationship.

No matter how new or how old a relationship, there's always something new to discover!

The bold red letters glared at us as we crawled along in bumper-to-bumper traffic, maneuvering between potholes and gravelly ditches that had turned what was once smooth pavement into an obstacle course. "UNDER CONSTRUCTION!" Noise, dirt, sweat-soaked workers, and clogged roads had been part of our lives since the city began a road-expansion project several months earlier. Traffic had always been notoriously bad in this part of sprawling Bangkok, but it was worse now.

Barricades had gone up, squeezing three-lane traffic into a single lane. The diggers came next, tearing up the asphalt and clunking and shuddering as they worked around the clock. Construction dust covered everything. Our hour-long commutes into town took twice as long, while we stalled and chafed in exhaust fumes and dust.

"Why do they have to do construction here?" I routinely complained to my dad on our weekly trips to give English lessons at an orphanage near the center of town. "It makes life so inconvenient and confusing for everyone!"

Dad, having long ago outgrown the notion that the world existed to cater to him, would glance sympathetically in my direction and say nothing.

Eventually I became accustomed to the noise and inconvenience, and Dad and I discovered that the car was a great place to catch up on little bits of each other's lives that we had missed in the bustle of our busy days.

The day finally came when the constant jackhammering stopped, the large yellow machines were hauled away one by one, and the barricades with their red-lettered signs and flashing orange lights were carted off to the next construction site.

The next week we made our usual trip to the orphanage, and as usual I braced myself for the long ride. A minute or two later Dad maneuvered our pickup onto an entry ramp and suddenly we were racing above the snarl of city traffic below. The newly constructed flyover, with its smooth surface and intersection-free lanes, took us to the orphanage in a record time of fifteen minutes.

On the way home, as we once again sped above the clogged streets and honking cars, Dad broke the silence. "Do you still wish they hadn't done construction here?"

"Of course not!" I replied, suddenly realizing that the temporary inconvenience we had lived through was nothing compared to the benefits that would now be enjoyed for years.

"Life is full of 'construction sites,'" Dad said. "Learn to be thankful for them and be patient. God is in the process of turning each one into something better."

Christina Andreassen is a member of the Family International in the Middle East.