Over time without a lot of regular maintenance bridges will begin to deteriorate. A once strong bridge that could support a lot of weight becomes weak and unstable. At that time a decision has to be made – repair or rebuild the bridge. I think marriage can be the same way.
When the relationship starts, the bridge is built. There are two people and the bridge that is built is the relationship between them. The relationship starts out strong and each piece of the bridge is carefully put in place. The bridge parts are the moments of connection and trust that the two people share. It is the experiences they have together and the way they do things as a couple. As their commitment to each other grows, the bridge becomes stronger.
The bridge remains strong for a while. It is important that it does because every day the bridge has to bear the weight of the things that come against the relationship – other people, outside commitments like work, friends, hobbies, money, etc. As long as the bridge, the relationship, stays strong it can continue to connect the two people and hold through any of these stresses put on it.
Without regular maintenance the bridge will begin to deteriorate and become weak. It can no longer support the weight and stress it used to. This happens when the two people stop putting so much effort into staying connected and caring about each other like they did when they built the relationship in the beginning. Then the pressures and stresses from outside the relationship begin to weigh down too heavy on a relationship that isn’t strong enough to stand against them.
As the bridge becomes more weak there comes a point where a decision has to be made. The bridge is weak enough that is is unstable and not safe. You can either repair the existing bridge or rebuild a new one to keep the two connected.
Marriage as a lifelong commitment between two people – for better or for worse – forever and ever times infinity and beyond – has these same two options when the relationship is stressed, worn down, hurt, and damaged. Because the love and relationship is forever, there must always be a bridge connecting the two of you. The two people can either repair what they have or start to build a new, better, stronger bridge/relationship between the two of them, learning from their mistakes from the past to build a stronger bridge this time.
In this type of a lifelong commitment and love for each other it can sometimes be necessary to realize that what you had built before isn’t working anymore and is too worn and hurt. It can be scary to rebuild that bridge between the two of you, to start trying to reconnect again, but sometimes that fresh start at a new relationship with your spouse is needed. Both of you can come to the table with better knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of what failed before and rebuild a new bridge and connection with each other.
The old way didn’t work between the two of you, but the new way, the new bridge, will be better than the previous one. This is because as we change as people and our circumstances change over time, we have different needs and thoughts. These must be taken into account when repairing or rebuilding your bridge. When the bridge has gone too long without maintenance, rebuilding it may be the best option to ensure those new needs and changes are taken into account when you begin to reconnect.
Rebuilding doesn’t mean the old bridge and relationship didn’t exist. It doesn’t erase the old way you did things or the hurts or problems from before. Those things are there and they are very real. But rebuilding chooses to use those experiences to start fresh with something new that learns from past mistakes and makes different better decisions from now on.
Repairing would take the form of addressing all your problems and fixing each one individually – looking at each weak part of the bridge and fixing it. But this rebuilding takes the form of starting from the very beginning – getting to know each other again and connecting with each other. It acknowledges all the wrongs, hurts, and failings of the old bridge, knocks them down, and then uses that knowledge to build a new bridge without those same issues in it.
Sometimes it is necessary to rebuild your marriage and your connection with your spouse with a fresh start between the two of you. The rebuilding starts with an attempt at reconnecting with each other like you did when you first met and began building your first bridge.