Jesus makes it clear that the hardest place to be is On the Path. In marriage, when both partners’ hearts are hard, look out! They will either tear each other apart or be so disengaged that no relationship exists. Either way, the result is an empty, unfruitful relationship.
Jesus says the seed sown along the path is like someone hearing the words but having no understanding. He equates understanding with fruitfulness. The ground is so hard the seed cannot penetrate. When growth cannot begin, a couple loses the opportunity to be a source of light in a dark world. They may be together only by habit and convenience. If they have not already given up, they are in danger of separation, divorce, or some type of extra-marital affair.
A conflicted relationship consists of either extreme conflict (battling for the last crumb) or extreme disconnection (not speaking for days). The path represents immaturity—being oblivious to how to make the relationship work.
- Intense frustration, anger, and loneliness;
- Regular unresolved conflict with defensive self-focus and hurtful words and behaviors;
- A stubborn lack of ownership coupled with blame-shifting;
- All or nothing thinking;
- Dependence on each other for contentment;
- Confusion from a lack of definition and direction;
- Rare, if any, enjoyment of the relationship resulting in a lack of positive memories; and
- High expectations and needs along with a low ability to meet needs.
A couple who lacks relational skills, positive experiences, a validating history, and an understanding of God’s intention for marriage will feel a tangible hopelessness.