Relational Rollercoaster – Up We Go!

Today we began a series called “Relational Rollercoaster” at Gateway Church in Austin. Bruce Gilson, the South Campus pastor, shared the following insights at the South Campus:

“The primary need of children is to bond with their mothers and fathers. Attachment theory explains that when kids feel safe emotionally, they grow up with an emotional strength and ability to bond with others. The best parents are available, responsive, and engaged.

In marriage, we want the same thing—to be emotionally connected. In the romance phase, it’s easy because our hope for this causes us to be very present, in tune, and connected. When conflict comes or we face disappointment, this trigger fears, and we defend or attack or withdraw to protect. Ultimately, we disconnect. This causes fights and protests and ‘demon dialogues’ trying to get emotional connection, but usually just pushing the other person further away.

God has wired us for loving connection in secure relationships. It’s what we’re after—first with God, then with others. That starts by creating safety and acceptance in marriage, realizing marriage is to reflect God’s unconditional love and security. When we fear, this basic need is threatened, we defend, attack or withdraw.

Throughout the scriptures God reassures us of his Emotional Availability. He tells Joshua, ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go’ (Joshua 1:9). In Romans chapter 8 God reassures us, ‘Nothing can ever separate you from my love—nothing.’

In our relationships, are we emotionally available? Are we responsive? Are we engaged?

Emotional disengagement is the primary indicator of a relationship falling apart. Fighting in and of itself is not unhealthy. In fact, disagreements are normal and can be productive and helpful in our relationships.

Whether we were raised by Dr. Spock or Dr. Evil, we can become emotionally healthy through allowing God to heal our hurts, forgive us from our bad choices, and transform us.”

To listen or watch this message as shared by John Burke at the McNeil campus, go to or watch below:

Relational Rollercoaster: Up We Go | May 8, 2011 from Gateway Church on Vimeo.

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