Building Bridges and Relationships: Four Thoughts

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International Bridge between New York and Ontario, Canada

When hubby 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 drove to the Base, we crossed a little, one lane bridge that spanned a river. Every time I neared it, I prayed no one else would be driving from the other side.

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

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Bridges come about 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.

The same is true in relationships. When two people first meet, whether it be potential friends or potential spouses, someone has to be motivated to initiate the creation of the relationship.

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Bridges require intentional work. Someone doesn’t just decide one day, “I think I’ll build a bridge today,” and start building. He considers the structure, the materials needed, the design and the purpose. He acquires the manpower and supplies, 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 humble heart, an apology, maybe a request for forgiveness. Intentional effort is necessary to bridge the chasm between two people. And, it takes time.

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The Hoover Dam bridge between Nevada and Arizona, 1998

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 it.

Bridges make the path safer when crossing difficult terrain. Imagine crossing the Mississippi River in a covered wagon, floating everything you own on a raft that could tip over. Today’s bridges make me feel so much safer when crossing large bodies of water, or rocky gorges.

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In relationships, placing boundaries around our speech can create 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.

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The most important bridge I’ve crossed is the one Jesus made, 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 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?

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15 thoughts on “Building Bridges and Relationships: Four Thoughts

  1. I used to work on the design of bridges to withstand earthquakes, so I really liked this post!

    Seismic design isn’t about strength – it’s about the structure yielding and bending, to absorb the earthquake’s energy while still remaining stable.

    I guess the analogy is that relationships have to do the same thing. Sometimes, instead of being brittle, you’ve got to yield.

    In its ultimate expression…as Jesus yielded to his executioners when He could have smote them into a red haze.

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    • Great thoughts, Andrew. Yes, relationships need to be able to flex with the shaking up life gives, don’t they? I didn’t know you used to work on designing bridges. Brittle things crack when hard things hit them. Loved your thought about Jesus and how he yielded rather than retaliated.

      I should have talked to you before writing this. 🙂

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  3. I actually have a phobia of bridges. I am really quite un-nerved by them. The bigger the bridge, the worse the meltdown. BUT, a suspension bridge? Like, a bridge made of ROPE??? Bring it on!!! I have no idea why I have zero fear of suspension bridges, and I’m woozy on a concrete bridge.
    The most fascinating bridge? The Lynn Canyon Bridge, in North Vancouver.

    (I’m too van-lagged to be deep today.)

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    • So, I guess it’s good I didn’t put up a picture of the Golden Gate bridge, huh? 😉 My picture was too dark. Sigh. Rope bridges are the ones that make me nervous. 🙂 Go. Rest. Be deep tomorrow.

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