Relationship

Bridges: 4 Truths About Bridges and Relationships

The international bridge between the United States and Canada

By Jeanne Takenaka

Most of this blog is a repost from a much earlier post . . . Our family took an impromptu trip, so I’m sharing this with you, and I’ll be commenting this week as I have time. 🙂

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This past weekend, the family and I had a paintball adventure. It was my first time ever playing the game. A creek ran through the course. Our referee told Hubs and me that there were five bridges crossing it, some were rickety, but they provided a way to cross and stay dry. 

There were a couple narrow places where one could jump from one side of the creek to the other, but I was always on the lookout for a bridge. Who needs the stress of trying to jump while not being splatted with paint?

A one-lane bridge in Hawaii scanning an inlet below

This got me thinking about other bridges . . . 

When Hubs and I first married, the US Air Force stationed us at Maxwell Air Force Base (AFB). We rented a little home in Prattville, Alabama, about 10 miles from Montgomery. Whenever we headed into the city, we drove across a narrow, one-lane bridge that spanned a river. Every time I neared it, I gripped the steering wheel and prayed no one else was driving from the other side. 

I’m always amazed at all that’s required to make a way for people to get from one place to another.

A bridge spanning a river in the mountains

Bridges are built because someone was motivated to change the way things were. Someone saw a need, wanted to make things better or easier, and they figured out how to create a bridge.

Isn’t this also how it is in relationships? When two people first meet, whether it be potential friends or potential spouses, someone must initiate the creation of the relationship. 

a bridge in Ohio crossing an interstate

Bridges require intentional work. Someone doesn’t just wake up one day and decide, “I think I’ll build a bridge today,” and get to it. He considers the structure, the necessary materials, the design, the terrain, and the purpose. He acquires the manpower. And then he begins building.

With relationships, especially when there’s a rift, someone must be willing to take that first step of beginning the work. It usually starts with a willingness to listen, a humble heart, an apology, maybe a request for forgiveness. Intentional effort is necessary to bridge the distance between two people. And, it takes time.

A bridge providing a cross way over a racing river

Bridges span chasms, small or large, deep or not, with the purpose of connecting one place to another, or one person to another. Sometimes that chasm is a gorge. Other times it’s the hurt between one heart and another. Either way, the bridge can only connect if someone is willing to step forward and begin the work of building.

Bridges make the path safer when crossing difficult terrain. Imagine traversing the Mississippi River in a covered wagon, floating everything you own on a raft that could tip over with an unexpected wave or current. Today’s bridges offer safety when crossing large bodies of water, or rocky gorges. 

A bridge at sunrise in Tennessee

In relationships, placing boundaries around our words creates a safe way to bridge difficult conversations. Not that we avoid speaking the truth. But there’s a ton of difference in speaking it sarcastically, and speaking it gently.

Bridges of kindness built on a foundation of love span greater distances between hearts than almost anything else. 

Our paintball adventure built its own sort of bridge between hearts as my three guys and I re-lived shooting and being shot, shared “battle wounds,” and laughed together.

A wooden bridge crossing an autumn stream

The most important bridge I’ve crossed is the one Jesus forged. His hands nailed to the cross spanned the chasm my sin created. His love touched my heart, transformed it, and connected me to His Father. That’s one bridge I’m forever grateful was built so I could cross. 

What about you? How have you built bridges in your life? What’s been the most fascinating bridge you’ve ever crossed?

Click to Tweet: Bridges are built because someone was motivated to change the way things were.

*****Life can be hard. Do you ever need a little encouragement on this journey? I’d love to walk with you. I’m excited to share a 28-day devotional ebook with my newsletter subscribers. Join the journey by clicking the image to receive this gift and uplifting thoughts monthly.*****

8 thoughts on “Bridges: 4 Truths About Bridges and Relationships”

  1. Relationships are not my strength,
    and at these I really suck;
    I could go on at some length,
    but want to know me? Out of luck!
    Unless you are a dog whose home
    is the vicious, killing street;
    you’ll no longer have to roam
    if it’s me that you can meet.
    I will hold you in my arms,
    fleas or not, I do not care,
    and I’ll keep you safe from harm
    as you breathe your first safe air.
    Come to me, who are rejected,
    and find yourself a home, protected.

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    1. Ahhh, Andrew. I have a sense that you have learned a few things about relationships. And you are definitely a protector and nurturer to your dogs. And these are important components for relationships. Thanks for always sharing transparently here. Your words always speak to me, friend. I’m praying for you and Barb.

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  2. I’m always fascinated by bridges and how they stay up! There’s a large one near me that was built recently over several years and it was amazing to watch the different stages of construction. I love the links you make here with relationships. It does take time and effort to bridge those gaps but it is amazing how those bridges can span greater distances than we’d ever have thought. I hope you enjoy your trip this week – ad thanks for linking to my post.

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  3. Thanks for this encouragement on building bridges, Jeanne. So important during this time of conflict in our nation. I want to read the book “Be the Bridge” by LaTasha Morrison, about racial reconciliation. It’s on my list!

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