When you experience a wound in your relationship, it feels like you've been cut down. But maybe you've been cut back. That might be a good thing.
When we moved into our current home, there was a scraggly tree in the front yard. It looked old and lifeless. My wife could tell you what kind of tree it was, but I've already forgotten because I don't remember things like that. I just knew it was ugly and wanted to cut it down.
But Sharon said I should just cut all the branches off instead. It sounded like a ridiculous idea, but she's smarter than me so I did it. When I was done, the tree looked old, ugly, and naked. Sharon told me to wait.
When spring came, so did new life. I couldn't believe it. I'm looking out my office window right now at full green tree covered in red flowers. It didn't need to be cut down; it needed to be cut back. Sometimes we need that, too.
I've been reading Donald Miller's book, Scary Close, (highly recommended) which talks about being authentic and vulnerable in relationships. He writes about the experiencing both pleasant and painful periods of life: "There are pruning seasons in life and there are growing seasons. When I look back on my life, I can tell the greatest growth comes right after you get cut back."
When wounds are inflicted in an intimate relationship, the hurt is deeply felt. Sometimes the saw slices painfully, cutting away parts we expected to keep forever. But these damaged parts can become the very places where change is experienced and new growth begins. It is amazing that this terrible thing can turn you into a "better you" if you let it. It may look ugly now, but wait until the new season comes!
Miller goes on to write, "My hope is such a fierce pruning will help create a strong and tender man who understands himself and people and the nature of love better than he ever could have before he made his mistakes. I believe in such miracles."