April 26, 2015

Can Your Relationship Handle IKEA?

In therapy, so many couples mentioned fighting while shopping at IKEA or while assembling what they buy there that clinical psychologist Ramani Durvasula has started embracing the retailer as a tool for a communication exercise.  The therapist often tasks couples with putting together a large piece of furniture at home and reporting back on how it went.

Dr. Durvasula says, "The store literally becomes a map of a relationship nightmare. Walking through the kitchens brings up touchy subjects, like who does most of the cooking. Then you get to the children's section, which opens up another set of issues. And that's before you've even tried assembling anything." read more

Which leads me to reflect on the church and the relationships between its members.  What building projects or other ministries will strain the relationships within a congregation?  Does your congregation have a strong sense of community and oneness that will allow it to take on a major building program that includes coming to consensus regarding size, cost, financing, architectural design, and even the color of the carpet?

Even in the earliest church where Jesus provided leadership to a group of twelve, we find jealousy that caused a division between brothers James and John and the other 10. We find a difference in understanding the direction of the ministry that leads to betrayal on the part of Judas. We find a struggle that led lay leader, Peter, to even deny that he knew their spiritual leader, Jesus. And even later in this young congregation's life together, we find that one of the members - Thomas - had real doubts about what he was hearing from the other members.

It seems that human relationships are always a struggle - for couples and within the church - that need to be worked at and strengthened.  Sometimes it may take a serious effort at working together on a project to test and perhaps measure and strengthen that relationship for the future.