By Moe & Paige Becnel
Founders, Blending A Family Ministry
Have you ever thought about the hundreds of ships that have sunk to the bottom of the sea over the last 500 years? Many lives were lost, and of course, the valuable cargo on board each ship was also lost.
Since we are all familiar with the famous “unsinkable” Titanic that sank on April 15, 1912 while on its maiden voyage, we looked up some interesting facts about the value of what was lost that day. Here are a few highlights:
ü 1,500 + lives lost (this equals many broken families and grieving hearts). Many of these passengers were emigrants who were leaving Europe to go to the United States to fulfill a dream for a new and better life.
ü Elaborate decorations in the 1st class lounge modeled after the Palace of Versailles in France.
ü A grand staircase in the 1st class section.
ü Staterooms – each decorated in antique styles of Italian Renaissance, Georgian, Regency, Queen Anne and Old Dutch.
ü Parlor Suites – each fitted for royalty, with 2 bedrooms with poster beds, 2 wardrobe rooms, a sitting room, a private bath, and a private deck.
ü Chandeliers, and pianos, and fancy tables and chairs, wall paintings, and four elevators
ü A Parisian Sidewalk Café
ü Captain E.J. Smith, the experienced captain of the Titanic, was on his last commission before his planned retirement.
ü $7.5Million to build in 1912; Estimated $400 Million to build today.
The sunken Titanic was discovered in 1985, and only a few articles from the ship have been recovered to date. It rests today in 13,000 feet of icy cold water.
Many ships have sunk over the years due to three main causes: terrible storms, enemy attacks, or ships getting off course and hitting reefs or icebergs. The Internet has thousand’s of sites that discuss books, museums, and stories of sunken ships and their lost treasures. The accounts of many sunken Spanish ships are found, as Spain was the leader in overseas trade for many years.
There are so many sunken ships that there is an “International Registry of Sunken Ships.”
Having worked with married couples for the last several years, we see a significant parallel between ships that have sunk and relationships that have failed.
No ship was ever designed to sink. Likewise, no relationship was ever meant to end. Realize that the Ten Commandments that God gave to the people of Israel through Moses were all about relationships, i.e., our relationship with God and our relationships with other people. God cares about your job, your financial needs, and your other concerns in life, but God’s priority for your life is that you would build and maintain strong relationships.
We know that some people will pass through your life, and maybe move out of town, or change churches or jobs. And we cannot be close friends with every person we meet. However, no relationship should ever end harshly, or with ill feelings.
Unfortunately, many relationships have sunk. And just as there is an “International Registry of Sunken Ships”, there are hundred’s of recorded Divorces in every Courthouse in every State in the United States. There are countless more unrecorded broken relationships.
This article is not designed to bring guilt or judgment on you for any failed relationships in your past. Rather, we hope to heighten your awareness of the value of relationships, and to help you strengthen your existing and new relationships (with your spouse, your natural children, and your stepchildren).
Here is an analogy of how a relationship builds, and then sinks:
Consider each relationship in your life to be a large ship carrying priceless treasure. The treasure on board your ship is the people in the relationship including your spouse, your natural children, and your stepchildren (new children). Every person in your family is a treasure!
The ship has set its sails and you are on a journey together. Things are going smoothly, the honeymoon is alive and well, finances are good and you are achieving your plans. Life is generally good. Suddenly, there is a shift in plans, or a shift in current – maybe from a job change, or a troubled child, or a former spouse. The people on board begin to disagree about what is the right and wrong course of action. Maybe there is more than one Captain on board. That’s never good!
Opinions are flying --- because everyone has one! Finally, someone makes a decision. It turns out to be a bad decision, and it brings grief on the rest of the family. The disagreements turn into insults, and insults turn into hurt feelings.
Here is the key! Every harsh word, every sarcastic comment, every degrading insult, and every “I’m right – you’re wrong” attitude puts a hole in your own ship. And your relationship begins to sink!
It was not the shift in plans, or a shift in the current that causes your relationship to sink. Similar to the troubles that ships face, all families at times will face terrible storms, and enemy attacks, or will get off course due to bad decisions. However, the external forces that come against a family will seldom, in itself, cause the relationship to sink. More often, the relationship sinks through the people in the relationship “shooting holes” in their own ship during the rough times.
When you first met your spouse and you became boyfriend/ girlfriend, you were attracted to them because of a personality or character trait, and vice versa. You saw value in that person! It was Ooohh! Aahhh! Wow! She’s so fine! He’s got it going on! Right??!!! Your affection grew for each other! Your attraction grew! Your appreciation grew! Your admiration grew! Your respect grew! Then you made a commitment to live the rest of your life with the love-of-your-life!
When tough times come, and people respond by repeatedly blaming or otherwise wounding each other, and do not forgive, they lose their affection, attraction, appreciation, admiration, and respect. Then, the commitment to the relationship fades, and the relationship begins to sink. Evidence of this is when:
1. We lose sight of the treasure in the person (that caused us to fall in love with them) when the “silt” of life’s troubles, and hurt feelings, cover up the treasure right before our eyes.
2. We find ourselves saying, “I never loved him/ her,” or “He/she is not who I thought they were.”
Truth is, the ships that sit at the bottom of the ocean still have the treasure on board! Silt has hidden the treasure, but it is still there and it is even more valuable today. Treasure hunters have become millionaires recovering sunken treasure. And the people in your relationships still have the same treasure that drew you to them!
Key Points to Life-long Relationships:
Ø Every person in your family is priceless to God. God paid a great price when He sent Jesus as the sacrificial Lamb of God to redeem every one of us back to Himself. You need to see them in the same way, no matter how they are acting at any given moment.
Ø Everyone in your family is entitled to make mistakes. It is their God-given right as a human! And you will have your turn.
Ø Children are a reward from God, no matter how they are acting at any given moment!
Ø Apologize, and accept other people’s apologies! Forgiveness is the key to repairing the holes in your relationships. In many places in the Bible, God commands us to forgive one another because forgiveness is an essential ingredient for life-long relationships.
Ø Do not hurt the one that you vowed to become “one” with! Take extra care to protect your spouse, and your relationship.
Ø Tough times bring out the worst in people. Expect it, and work together through those times. Robert Schuler wrote a book entitled, “Tough Times Never Last, Tough People Do”.
Ø Look for the sunken treasure. Recall the reasons you fell in love with your spouse. Look for the value in your children and new children. Compliment your spouse and children. Build them up.
Tasking to the End
Here is one last powerful fact about the day that the Titanic sank. Wallace Hartley, the Titanic’s bandleader, continued to conduct his musicians as the ship began to sink. And even after he had released the band members near the end, all remained together and continued to play. The entire band perished together.
They did not go running franticly, or start yelling. They did not lose composure; they did not go look for the captain to blame him or punch him. The band was in harmony, in one mind, and in one purpose that day.
Can we catch a glimpse here of faithfulness and commitment to our family? Can we all remain together and continue to play, in spite of what might seem like a bleak fate at times? I will tell you that if you will honor the Covenant you made with your spouse and God and remain faithful to it, God will show up and meet every need you have in your home!
Powerful things will happen in your family when you are in harmony, in one mind, and in one purpose with your spouse!
May your relationships thrive!
Moe & Paige Becnel © Copyright 2003 Blending A Family Ministry
Moe and Paige are Founders of BLENDING A FAMILY MINISTRY
Authors - GOD BREATHES ON BLENDED FAMILIES
Authors - GOD BREATHES ON BLENDED FAMILIES WORKBOOK
Visit our Website: www.blendingAfamily.com