It’s Otto writing today and I want to share a story about one of the most difficult days of my life in the hope that it will be helpful to you. Enjoy…
It was about 9:30 pm on a Saturday night and my son was so filled with anger, upset and rage because of some disagreement he had just had with his mother that when he arrived at our house, I stopped him and wouldn’t let him come in.
This was 10 years ago. My son was 18 and about to enter college and after a lot of late-night discussions and soul-searching, Susie and I agreed that he could move in with us.
We figured we had the extra space in the house we were living in at the time and it would save my son a lot of money on housing since the college he chose to go to was only about a twenty minute car ride.
It had been ten years since my son’s mother and I had split up and even though Susie and my son had a good relationship during those years, moving in with us was not only going to test their relationship but would test my relationship with him and Susie as well.
Becoming a “blended family” is no small feat and with what happened between my son, Susie, and me the night he was scheduled to move in made me think this was all a big mistake–especially his seemingly uncontrolled anger.
That Saturday night, my son filled his car with everything he was going to need in the short term and made the 40 minute drive to where Susie and I lived at the time.
I knew there was going to be a problem the moment I saw him.
When he got out of the car, he slammed the driver’s side door so violently that I thought it was going to bust the windows in his car.
I pushed the button to open the garage door to let him in and when he got to the screen door that led to the inside of the house, he swung it open with so much force, we thought it (or he) might punch a hole in the drywall in the garage or worse.
I thought this was bad but when Susie saw all that was going on with him she said “He can’t come in here like that. He’s going to hurt someone, tear up the house or both” and I agreed.
I met him at the door, walked him back outside and told him he had to find a way to get a grip on himself before he could come in.
This was important because it was one of those defining moments in my life where (maybe for the first time since the divorce) I stood my solid ground with him and at the same time showed up as total love in the moment.
To this day, I’m still not sure what was going on between him and his mother but to get a hold of himself, he took a long walk around the block and was gone for what seemed like forever.
When he returned, I hugged him and told him I loved him and he just cried and cried.
My son lived with Susie and I for over four years, which was the entire time he was going to college and then some.
There were plenty of communication challenges when none of us could get along and there were plenty of times when our new living arrangement was totally awesome and communication was easy.
This is life. This is love. And this is also part of the natural ebb and flow of relationships.
Not only did I want to do everything I could to nurture a close, loving relationship with my son, I also wanted to do everything in my power to keep love, passion and connection with Susie alive and growing as well.
I think I did that.
Not only do I still have a really good relationship with my son, but Susie and I are closer, more connected and more in love after being together for nearly 20 years as we were in the beginning of our relationship.
What are the keys?
One thing I can say without hesitation is that communication was one of the keys to all of this working.
When things got difficult, the commitment to not run away, to not hide, to continue to open as love and the willingness to have difficult conversations even when you would prefer to just not have to deal with anyone or anything made all the difference.
What I’ve found is that communication is one of the true keys to whether a relationship of any kind works or not.
And one person can totally change a relationship for the better!
Communication one of the biggest factors that determine whether love grows between two people or whether that love dies on the vine.
The lack of it is one of those things that kills far too many relationships where the love is still there but the communication challenges just end up being too great and the love doesn’t last.
This is so tragic and one of the biggest reasons we’re offering a brand new 6-week communication school called “Communication Made Easy” that starts on Monday September 18th.
We’re so tired of seeing so many relationships struggle when the love is still there–all because the people in the relationship couldn’t figure out how to communicate with each other in ways that increase love, closeness and connection instead of destroying it.
If communication is something you’d like some help with, we urge you to sign up for our program.
You can learn to communicate and connect in new ways and we want to help you with this.
Sign up for “Communication Made Easy” here.