When the Warning Bell Tolls

Restlessness comes to all relationships and in particular to one partner or another at select times. As scary as these times are – when we suddenly realise our relationships have been taken too long for granted, as all seem to be on occasion – in blows the cool and sprightly breeze of opportunity. It’s not too late.

The opportunist will take such a prospect and open the imagination to what is needed. The partner that is deaf to the toll of that bell, however, stands to lose that love; as if two ships passing silently in the night.


Known once for my inconsolable deafness, I can well appreciate, personally, the skill men have, in particular, for relational deafness. Some men, maybe many, need the metaphorical whack with a two-by-four plank in order to fully comprehend where their relationships are at.

But it may just be that these men’s female partners, equally, lack the decorum of manufacturing the circumstances that may facilitate their listening – not always, but sometimes. Where there are communicative barriers it is rarely the fault of just one person; one may be deaf to the need of the other, but the other may not be communicating in the right language, at the right times, or in the right ways.

Effort is required of both.

We may well ask who’d be a deaf man, but it is just as apt to ask why be an ignored woman? Some women may be looking for an out; a sufficient excuse to make an end of a relationship, of its own, petering out.


The most inspiring relationships are those where partners battled awkward, depressing, challenging seasons – some that lasted months or even a year or two – and emerged, having travelled through hell, to enjoy a much more intimate and committed future with their partners.

Such success stories are not all that uncommon; just as it took two to allow the relationship to fall into disrepair, it took two to stick together, through thick and thin, and hoping beyond inactive hope for the goodness and blessing to come.

The key when the warning bell tolls is the adroitness of listening; even a listener who doesn’t know the answer, and is confused beyond rationality, stands to gain, because they prove to their partner that their heart is in this by their effort. They see a struggle, yet their commitment compels the availability of every resource to listen and learn.


Many relationships end because warnings weren’t heeded. What’s required is a communicative style by one, and a listening ear from the other. Commitment is proven when the warnings are heard and change is genuinely attempted. So often all we wish to see is effort. Then we’re convinced it’s worth it.

© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

Steve Wickham is a Registered Safety Practitioner (BSc, FSIA, RSP[Australia]) and a qualified, unordained Christian minister (GradDipBib&Min). His blogs are at: http://epitemnein-epitomic.blogspot.com/ and http://tribework.blogspot.com/

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