in: People, Relationships, Sunday Firesides

Sunday Firesides: You Can’t Want It More Than They Do

Your marriage is struggling. You’ve invited your wife to do couples therapy, to go out for date nights, to spend more time together in general. But she’s refused all these invitations. 

Your daughter has the potential to be a champion swimmer. But she isn’t into the sport, and getting her to go to practice is a source of constant conflict.

A guy at church has been down on his luck, and you’ve been helping him fill out job applications. But every time he lands an interview, he fails to show up.

Your son has been addicted to drugs for a decade. You’ve paid for lawyers for related trouble he’s gotten into. You’ve paid for two expensive stints in rehab. But he’s still using. 

In these kinds of situations, when should you continue to invest time, money, and emotion in someone and in the outcome you’d like to see brought about in their life? When should you let go?

Certainly, there are no easy answers to one of the most difficult dilemmas of the human experience. 

But there is one guideline that can be helpful to adopt:

You can’t want it more than they do. 

If someone already has the will, the commitment, the desire to make something happen, then your support will be a beneficial aid to their already existent efforts. If they don’t, even the most abundant pleading, cajoling, and assistance will come to naught. 

You will never be able to pull someone in a direction they aren’t already heading themselves. 

This doesn’t mean that you stop cheering for them (from a greater distance), hoping for them (with realistic expectations), or loving them (with undiminished sincerity).

But you should only keep trying to bring someone along if, at the same time that you’re reaching out, they’re extending their hand. 

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