relational friction

six relational friction reducers

In relationships, we understand that opposites attract. We think, “Hey, you’re intriguing and interesting to me.” Then after we get to know each other, and have been together for a year or two- or get married- those opposites can attack! What was cute when we were dating may become caustic if we’re not careful.

There will always be some friction in relationships and in life, regardless. That’s a good thing in the physical world- otherwise we couldn’t walk across the floor. It’s a good thing in relationships too. We need a little relational “friction”, or we would be bored with our partner. That’s the way God designed things. And just as too much friction on our bodies can cause pain- think about skidding to a stop in bare feet on pavement- too much friction on your relationship can cause pain, too.

So then, the key is to maintain just the right level of friction to keep our love interesting, dynamic and growing, without allowing our differences to hurt us.

Yeah. Right. If it were that easy, we’d all be doing it well.

Let’s see what we can learn from the physical world to help us relationally. The winning edge in any race has to do with aerodynamics. Basically, you are trying to get the lowest drag coefficient you can. That’s a physics term for the amount of resistance on an object. The less drag, the faster you can go on less energy. So you see competitors searching for ways to reduce the drag. Swimmers even shave their body hair. In car races, bike or skate races, you’ll see the contestants using a technique called drafting. Essentially, a racer will slip right in behind another racer to “hide” from the wind resistance, reducing their drag, thus saving precious energy. The lead person experiences more drag, and the others enjoy a draft, which kind of work likes suction to “pull” you forward. It’s kind of cool how that works.

Here are a half dozen friction reducers I thought of to reduce the drag and needless friction in your relationship.

I’d love to know what works best for you.

1. Shave off any excess
We can all continue to grow. Look where you can be more effective as a team member by eliminating negativity.

2. Take turns leading
When racers draft, they take turns leading. Each of you is better in some areas than the other. Use one another’s gifts to your “team’s” advantage, and allow the “expert” to take the lead.

3. Loosen your grip
Let the little things stay little things. Save the important conversations for the bigger issues.

4. Grease things up
Laughter is the best relational lubricant. Go to YouTube, the movie theater or binge a show you both like together.

5. Push together
Ask for and give help when you need it. Many hands make light work, so the saying goes.

6. Give a little space
Occasionally, we need to back off and give some grace to the other. Be available to reconnect when your partner is ready.

Greg Griffin is a Pastoral Counselor in private practice in Marietta, GA. His specialty is relationship repair and rescue- helping partners, spouses, and parents and their adolescents. He’s also the author of Dungeon Times Survival Guide, and Vital Faith.

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