We all have people we really don’t like or care for, right? That person that drives you crazy and you really can’t stand to be around them. Even though your nerves are on edge, you still know how and typically why you feel the way you do about them. So it’s easy to avoid them, keep them at a distance, or tolerate them in moderation.
But what about the person you WERE friends with, that suddenly you don’t care for anymore? Or the opposite, someone you really didn’t like at first, but you’re finding they aren’t so bad or you’re even starting to respect them?
It’s confusing, isn’t it? It may just come to you or you may have seen it coming for awhile, realizing your friendship has changed, but you sometimes can’t pin it on one particular instance or thing they did or didn’t do. You just know, they’re different in your eyes now and you don’t know why.
Consider this. In life, there are 2 types of foundations we lay in our relationships, jobs, families, and lives. We either invest or we corrode.
In a business sense, when we invest, it’s not always a lot, or maybe it is at first, but most likely, it’s little by little. When we put away a little money each month, that investment grows and collects interest, and you could retire very wealthy if you’re strategic.
In a sports sense, if you are training for a marathon, you don’t run 26 miles in your first run. That would be insane and you’d most likely hurt yourself. You train yourself, you invest a little more each time, running a little further each time, building up stamina and strength.
On the flip side, there’s corrosion. When something corrodes, it withers away, disintegrates, decays, slowly breaking apart and dying.
In business, if you never invested and only spent your money, you would corrode your future away, having nothing built upon for later. If you never trained for a marathon and instead ate fast food when you should be training, your body would be corroding away and you’d never complete it because your foundation is decaying.
But let’s apply this to something more tangible and real, such as marriage and relationships.
When you’re first married or dating, you’re happy, excited, always telling them how good they look, not able to keep your hands off each other. But over time, you hear of stories of divorce, break ups, affairs and responses of, “We just fell out of love.” Many times they will tell you they don’t know when it happened but it was some time coming.
Why did they “fall out of love”? At the beginning of a marriage or dating, you’re ONLY investing, usually in large doses too.
You’re buying her flowers, calling each other, texting each other back and forth, taking her to the movies, inseparable, constantly telling each other ‘I love you’.
But what happens? The honeymoon phase wears off and you even tell each other you didn’t need to do those things all the time anymore, you just enjoy each other’s company.
This is the crucial part, where the tide turns, where it’s make or break, especially in marriages.
That’s when the investing stops and the corrosion can begin. What does the start of corrosion look like in a marriage? Snide comments, shorter tempers, ignoring needs, developing personal agendas, jealousy of time spent at the office or with friends. And the list can go on.
At first, it’s not a big deal. “They just had a bad day.” “That’s just how they get sometimes.” But over time, the compliments about how you look or how much you are appreciated for providing become less and less and without you even knowing it, your marriage has begun to corrode away. Decay is patient and often undetected.
It continues when eye rolling at their antics becomes frustration, which grows into irritation, which grows into reciprocation, and pretty soon you’ve just worn each other down corroding over years of time.
And if no return investment is made into it, it will only disintegrate right before your eyes and that’s why one day couples find themselves saying, “I don’t know, I guess we just fell out of love.” They make it sound as if it happened in a day, but they’re foundation had been rotting for years.
In the same way, which marriages are the strong ones? They’re the ones that last, that everyone wants to be like or have. They’re the ones who’re investing into each other, building up a foundation of encouragement, respect, love, and forgiveness.
When you invest over time, you build up enough to where even if you take a hit, you’ve built up enough to soften the loss.
Marriage is tough and you’re going to disappoint each other and hurt each other. But one built upon a strong investment into each other’s lives will endure the hardships while still growing, never stopping or declining.
A marriage built upon constant nagging, knit picking, pointing out faults, a constant rollercoaster of emotional inconsistency, placing blame, prideful comments, will corrode and decay. When you take a hit, you fall even further because the foundation is rotting to the core and cannot support itself like it used to.
Fixing it isn’t an overnight thing. It takes almost as long as it did to corrode as it will to break even and have a strong foundation again. You have to re-invest, begin proving yourself again, and over time, regain trust. You have to re-lay a new foundation. This is where couples give up because it’s too much work.
It’s the same with your job. If you aren’t investing in your work and your co-workers or if you employer is always nagging you, never looking out for you, always finding someway to frustrate you, you will find yourself one day saying, “I don’t know, I don’t think I want to work here anymore.”
And you won’t be able to point to one specific time, because you used to be happy in it, but the people you work with have shut you out or you have pushed away all those who are working for you because you never took the time to tell them what you appreciated about them as employees, instead constantly telling them it was never enough.
What foundation are you laying? Are you investing slowly, building a strong foundation that can withstand hardships and yet still grow, or are you corroding and wearing down the people around you until they don’t want to be around you anymore or maybe even married to you anymore?
Maybe you’re THAT guy who suddenly finds himself with constantly shifting relationships and you wore everyone out from your emotions. Or maybe you’re THAT guy or girl who people weren’t sure about at first, but stayed the course and invested in them and gained the respect of many original naysayers.
Who are you to those around you daily? Think about what you’re doing to them emotionally. We’re either investing or corroding. When you find you’re answer, you’ll know what to do…or don’t do.