Do All Dogs Bite?
At one of our recent LIFE Marriage Retreats we had the privilege of working with a great couple from a southern state. She is a beautiful woman, poised and charismatic, and owns a successful business. She and her husband had returned to the house from a walk on the beach and in sharing some of their experiences from the walk she mentioned that they had passed a man walking a gentle looking dog. It turned out she had switched to walking on the other side of her husband, well away from the dog because, she said, “All dogs bite.”That really caught my attention and we had fun the remainder of the Retreat applying the belief that ‘all dogs bite’ to various matters of trust in relationships. Her premise was that under the right (or wrong) conditions any dog, no matter the size or breed, can “snap” and bite even a friendly hand, so one must always be careful around them. She admitted that this type of fear and mistrust sometimes spilled over into her human relationships.So do all dogs bite? And are we doomed to be disappointed, at one time or another, by all of our relationships? Well, yes, probably so. After all, we are human and all of us make mistakes. We do or say things that we later regret. Most of us have moments of thoughtlessness or selfishness.But if this potentially painful reality keeps us tied to the trunk of our relationship tree, afraid to risk and climb out, we will never know just how sweet the fruit is that grows at the end of the branch. While trust must, indeed, be earned, never let the fear that “all dogs bite” close us off from the warmth and fulfillment that we deserve in our relationships.If we are occasionally bitten, if our limb is shaken by our partner, remember that we are all human and have probably been the biter and shaker sometimes as well. Some people simply aren’t ready to be trustworthy, but in almost all of our relationships we will, with some patience, kindness, and forgiveness, be able to help one another inch out on that branch a bit at a time where the fruit is sweet and the air is pure. And where not all dogs bite!I am pleased to say that by the end of the Marriage Retreat this woman was well on her way to petting dogs and tasting the goodness of her relationship with her husband.
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