Wow. You know, I’ve been in a committed relationship for a long time, over 20 years. And before that, I was married for over 7 years. In fact, I have spent most of my adult life in a committed relationship. Mostly because it just happened that way; God allowed it to be arranged and I have made some choices. Some good, some pretty dismal, and some downright crazy.

Right now, for today, things are good. But I have noticed that relationships around me go in cycles. Every few years, several relationships I know of will bust apart, for a variety of reasons. Some expected, some seemingly out of the blue. And none without causing me to feel a little sad for the collapse of a dream.

Because I remember what it was like to be excited about new beginnings, about planning a life together, about the time we would be able to spend together once we were official. The way I would get a flutter in my chest, just to think about the first time he said I love you, or that first kiss.

And then life happens. Work, school, kids, extended family. Slowly, like a south American jungle snake, life tightens its grip on us. Love and care become harder when we’re sleep-deprived and dealing with the stress of the world. Bit by bit, the romance and loveliness is choked out, and we are left with responsibilities, chores and obligations. We say I love you because it’s a commitment, but the rich velvety softness of it has dried and hardened into a crunchy flaky mess.

This is where, if we have any addiction issues, we are vulnerable to acting out. As if things weren’t bad enough, the walls get higher and our isolation deepens, and soon, we have no idea why we come home to this person anymore, except that we said we would.

Working the steps of recovery can restore our relationship with God, ourselves and each other. It is a process of reintegrating and dealing with the stress of life, not running from it, or masking it with behaviors or substances.

The steps also call for restoration of our relationships. If we are making our best go at it, and have handed our will over to the care of God, then the relationships in our lives have the opportunity not only for restoration but for improvement. This typically calls for both parties to be in it, willing, and there is a supernatural move of the spirit. It doesn’t always happen. And, if for some reason it doesn’t, we make our amends and forgiveness, release it and move forward.

Still, my heart aches for those who must move forward without that restoration. This is something that I must submit, being the child of divorced parents (so many times I lost count!). Dearest Lord Jesus, I pray for each broken heart tonight. May your healing touch be felt, and may your peace be ever-present with each one.