What do you think – ‘are relationships made to upkeep principles’ or ‘are principles made to keep relationships in place’? Let me make it a bit easier – ‘Does the sun rise so that we can call it daytime’ or ‘we call it daytime because the sun rises’? Well, it’s both, actually! We cannot exactly get into a cause-effect relationship in such things because they are interdependent on each other. One cannot thrive without the other.
Relationships are bound by principles and flourish if the principles are adhered to.
Think of a newly married couple all set to start their journey together. For the couple to enjoy their marriage and live together in nuptial bliss they need to adhere to certain principles like – fixing the timing to come and go out for work, the time they need to spend with each other, they social circles they would maintain and those they would have to let go, the habits they would want to inculcate and the habits they would want their partner to live with, finances, leisure-time habits, ethics, and endless goes the list. Of course, these need not be water-tight do-or-die rules! Nevertheless, the sanctity of adhering to these principles would lead to the couple to enjoy their marital life.
So far so good.
Think with me…
A situation arises in which the man has to choose between abiding by the principles which would cause him to put the relationship (here, his marriage) at jeopardy, and forgoing his principles to save his relationship. What would be the ideal thing to do?
Tough situation, right?
What would he gain to be called an ideal man, but have lost his marriage/family? His marriage/family intact, would he survive the guilt and consequences of compromising his principles, if he chooses to hold on to them?
Choosing between ‘relationships’ and ‘principles’ has always been difficult. But, before we choose to stand by our principles, we need to be sure if our principles themselves are true (and not faulty). Rules vary from place to place. Norms vary from culture to culture. And that makes things tricky.
But, let me tell you one thing – just as we all agree without bating an eye that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west – similarly, the standards set by the Creator for His creation are universal. Adhering to such absolutist standards helps keep relationships intact while keeping principles in place.
Of course, in extreme cases one has to have a tough pick. To give instances, an Army General whose child has been kidnapped by extremists can hope to see his child alive only if he takes sides with the extremists. Relationship (parental love) or principle (loyalty to the job)? Taking bribe would fund the surgery of an ailing spouse. Relationship (love for spouse) or principle (faithful to the job)?
Next time when in doubt how to balance relationships and principles or which to choose over the other, ponder for a minute as to what God would want you do. Therein lies the key to the balance.
Adhering to principles often cost relationships, but are eventually rewarding. Wise discernment is a must!