The universe is full of parallels that constantly remind us how our lives are even more connected than we let on. A perfect example is the concept of the Binary Stars and how this physical phenomenon mirrors human relationships. In this episode, Stan Padgett looks into the lessons we can learn from the universe as we further our understanding of relationships through our connection with the stars. He takes us deep into this system of two stars revolving around each other, just like with us and our partners. We find ourselves orbiting around a central point, where, in time, we slowly merge into one entity. Stan also discusses the four elements present in relationships and explains who comes first in the family dynamic. Look to the stars and see the wisdom in them. Join Stan in this conversation as he seeks to learn more about our intimate relationships and improve our connection from the binary stars above.
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Let’s talk about what binary stars are, and then we’ll talk about why they relate to our relationships with one another, especially in our intimate relationships. A binary star is a system of two stars in which one revolves around the other or both revolve around a common core. That’s interesting. Think about that for a second. It is two stars that revolve around each other or both have some central point that they revolve around.
That is a great metaphor for the types of relationships we have with our partners, our husbands, and our wives because if you are a person of faith, there are three parties to your relationship. That would be your heavenly father or whatever you envision or believe deity to be and the two of you. If you are not a person of faith, that’s completely fine. The relationships that we have with our partners and spouses are based on the same principle’s function. They’re eternal. It’s simply that we describe them differently.
Here’s how we would describe these differently. In a non-faith-based couple, binary stars represent the two of you, whether husband, wife, partners, or however your relationship works. What that means is it’s two stars that revolve around each other. What does that mean in very simple terms? It means that nothing else is as important as the two of you. As you continue in that relationship, over time, a star, an object, or a human being exerts a pull. Whether we call that pull emotional or gravity, it’s the same. If we are pulling and we’re pulling in the same direction, the distance between those two people or stars is going to shorten and it’s going to become closer and closer.
Let’s expand it. We’ll come back to the rest of the story. Let’s talk about what that means in the context of a faith-based couple. That means that you have a central point in the relationship. If you draw this on a piece of paper, I would say that you put a dot at the top, and that represents your version of deity. You have two sloping sides of a triangle. The base on each side, you have the two of you. What you have is a triangle. What happens in that relationship as each of you grows closer to the deity? As you become more price-like, more god-like, whatever the word is that applies in your faith, you are going on that ascending path toward deity. Guess what necessarily happens to the distance between the two of you? It necessarily shortens. You grow closer until you become one and one with deity.
In the binary where you’re a non-faith-based couple, you continue to grow closer until you become one. In multiple faiths, the old testament governs. The old testament says, “A man shall leave his family, her wife shall leave her home, and the two shall become one.” That teaches the basic principle of priority in a marriage relationship or an intimate relationship. That is very simple. If you are faith-based, your individual relationship with deity is first. Your relationship with your spouse is second. Your relationship with your children is third. Everything and everyone else is fourth.
Let’s talk about what falls into that fourth category. That would be jobs, family, friends, hobbies, addictions, and whatever else it is. Everything else has to fall beneath those. “I’m incredibly close to my family.” Wonderful. I want you to have righteous relationships with every member of your family and your extended family. At the end of the day, your primary responsibility is to your spouse. If you’re in an extended family gathering and one or more of your family members starts to say negative things about your spouse, what do you do? You stop it or you take your spouse and leave. Those are choices. You put your spouse first and you make clear to your family, “That’s not going to work here. I’m not going to listen to that. If that’s something you feel like you need to say, we’ll leave. No problem.”
Am I saying that your family can’t talk to you about significant problems? For example, it is very common that women who are in abusive relationships are resistant to their family trying to help. That’s not what I’m suggesting at all because there is zero tolerance for abuse of any kind, physical, mental, emotional, or sexual. None. If your family and friends try to point out to you that you’re showing up with bruises and you didn’t run into the door for the 13th time, you better start listening. You have an obligation to protect your children. If you’ve brought children into that relationship, whether they’re that other partner’s children or not, you have a responsibility to protect them.
Those are difficult questions. I’m not a psychologist. I don’t know the technical term for why women tend to stay with abusers. Sometimes it’s fear of them. Sometimes it’s fear of having no alternatives, no economic ability to go anywhere, or no family that will take them in. Whatever the circumstance or situation, typically, in many, maybe most communities, there are resources to help you. There are battered women’s shelters that will take in you and your children. They will help you get a start or get restraining orders and whatever is necessary to try and protect you and your children.
Does it work 100% of the time? No. What I understand is that some percentage of the time, the women get out, they get a break, and then they choose to go back. I hope that you become stronger than that if you’re ever in that situation and you don’t go back. You should never be in an abusive relationship. Not just for you, your self-esteem, and your safety because if there are children involved, you are modeling that it’s okay to be in that kind of relationship, and it’s not.
If you are a woman being battered, you are teaching your daughters that that’s what they should expect from their future relationships. Equally sadly, you are teaching your sons that that behavior is acceptable from them. It’s not either. You need to look not just at how that relationship is affecting you, but how it’s affecting your children. Quite frankly, how it has the potential to affect your grandchildren and great-grandchildren because someone has to break that pattern of abuse.
In this country, it was built by pioneers. It was built by people who left homes, left families, and made trips to this country in wooden sailing ships under terrible privations because they had a dream of something better and freedom. You need to have that same dream of freedom from abuse so that you can make that journey, you can be that pioneer, you can be that pilgrim, and you can lead your family to safety. That’s critically important.
We have to teach the rising generation that that’s not okay. It starts with you and it ends with people who love you and care about you like community, resources, churches, and friends. It’s getting help and most of the time, that help is out there. You can rise above. You were created for success and happiness. You weren’t built to be abused and neither were your children. We’ve talked about that fourth element of everything and everybody else, but that fourth element has more pieces to it. For example, you don’t want your work obligations to obliterate your family. What does that mean? Again, their balance is to be chosen, but what we are required to do as parents is provide the necessities of life for our children.
That’s food, clothing, shelter, and education. It’s not to provide ski vacations every year or $200 sneakers. We work as hard as we have to work to provide those necessities. That’s one of the duties and obligations of life as a parent. Once you’ve met that obligation to provide the essentials, then you need to be looking at where is your time being spent and where should it be spent. If you’re faith-based, you need to be spending time serving and functioning in your role as a child of deity.
If you’re not faith-based, then your priorities in terms of time should be, “Where is the block of time on my calendar each week for my spouse?” That’s their time. Not their and the children’s. Maybe that’s date night, a walk in the park, or the children go to bed at 7:00. We have from 7:00 to 9:00 to spend together as a couple, not while we’re running back to Facebook, ESPN, or the NBA game of the week.
One of the wonderful upsides and downsides of modern television is that there are 500 channels and there’s something on all the time. You have to make a choice. Is time with your spouse more important than time in front of the television set, the computer, or the smartphone? Whether it’s Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, or whatever the new ones are that are out, and I don’t even know about. The new ones will come out in the next five years, whether it’s ESPN or NFL channel.
There needs to be time on your calendar every week specifically that belongs to your spouse. You’re going to spend time with them primarily. You’re going to do what they feel like doing. You’re going to do what’s important to them because your purpose at that time is to connect with them on a deep emotional level. Having them watch the NBA game of the week with you is not the answer unless they’re huge NBA fans and it happens to be their favorite team on TV. It’s doing something with them. That’s second.
The third one is your children. The reason your spouse has to be second is the two of you have to be absolutely unified. To successfully raise children and to survive teenagers, you two better be on the same page. If there is a crack between you like the weeds in your driveway and in your walkway, they will come up through any tiny crack. Over time, those weeds will crack concrete and asphalt. They will crack a marriage if you let it happen. You put your spouse first, that means great. Your children need to know that mom or dad comes first, not after them. There’s nothing in scripture or teaching that I’m aware of that says put your children first. It doesn’t say that. It says you and your spouse become one, and then you raise up your children in righteousness.
As the binary stars, if you think about your relationship, you two are the stars, your children are planets. They revolve around you, not the other way around. I had an ecclesiastical role for a number of years where I had responsibility for a congregation of 600-plus people. Years before that, supervisory responsibilities over many people who were in that position.
What I learned over that time is I could walk into a home for the first time, and in five minutes, I knew who was in charge in the home, whether it was the parents or the children. Where it was the children, 100% of the time, the parents and the children were miserable because that was not the natural order of things. Parents, let me offer this thought.
It’s off the track of binary stars, but we’ll get back. That is until your children are 25, your job is to be their parent, not their friend. “I want my children to like me.” Frankly, if you don’t hear from your teenagers once in a while, “I hate you,” you are probably not doing your job. You’re not their parent. Parents set appropriate limits, age-appropriate and responsibility-appropriate limits, and provide consequences to comply with those limits. Does that mean that you tell a sixteen-year-old they have to go to bed at 7:00 at night? Good luck with that if you try. I don’t think it’s going to work. That’s why I said age-appropriate limits and consequences that are age-appropriate.Until your children are 25, your job is to be their parent, not their friend. Click To Tweet
We’ve now established that your spouse is going to come first. Your children are going to come second and know that they are second. What they get from that is they get a sense of how an intimate marriage relationship is supposed to be and it also provides them a sense of safety and security. For the most part in their world, when mom and dad are unified, in love, and love them, they know that they’re loved. Their world is okay.
They face a lot of garbage that at least children did not when I was young. I realize that was only a few years after the Earth cooled. We had bullying, but it wasn’t the same as it seems to be now. There wasn’t social media available to magnify the effects of bullying many times over. There weren’t cell phones and video cameras available at every turn to record every stupid thing that you do as a young person or a teenager. We have something that today’s teenagers do not that’s called Plausible Deniability. There’s no record of the dumb things that we did.
Unfortunately, in the world they live in, there’s almost certainly someone who is going to record the dumb things they do and put it on the internet. They’re not only embarrassed by their own choice, if they’ve been taught correct principles. They can be ridiculed and shunned by people they don’t even know that they will never meet. Dumb goes viral. It’s a difficult world. It means that we have to be better as parents at teaching them, not only the consequences, but how those consequences come about.
I realize there are all kinds of science about the developmental level of brains as people age. There are some things that children and teenagers aren’t ready to process mentally yet. It doesn’t mean that we can’t offer the information, so that maybe at a critical moment, something that mom or dad said will pop into their head and go, “This isn’t a great idea. Mom or dad is not here telling me it’s not a great idea. It’s my idea that it’s not a great idea and I’m not going to do it.” That’s the best we can do as parents these days.
I’m glad I have grandchildren now and that my phase of life of raising children is over because it’s so much more difficult it seems. We’ve now taken it back. We’ve said, “Children, we’re going to love you. We’re going to honor. We’re going to teach you, but mom or dad comes first. If we’re a faith-based relationship, heavenly father comes first, mom or dad’s second, we’re third, and we’re okay with that.” We know that we’re more important than you’re watching sports on TV or you’re going to work and provide for us. We respect that, but when you can spend time with us, you’re going to give us that time. That’s how you make them feel important.
A wonderful old mentor. I never met him, but I listened to a tremendous number of his tapes. A man named Zig Ziglar. Zig had a series called Raising Positive Kids in a Negative World. I suspect that you can probably still find it somewhere, and if you can and you have children, I’d recommend that you do. One of the things he said was, “Children spell love as TIME.” That doesn’t mean time watching sports necessarily. It might be a time taking them to a Major League game, or to a Minor League game, or to watch a tournament. It could be if that’s what they’re interested in, not what you are interested in.
Let’s get back to Binary Stars. How do we create closeness? It’s interesting. The Earth that we live on has a single star, a son, which we refer to as sol. Sol is a single star. We don’t have two. There’s a song from the late ‘90s called One Is The Loneliest Number. Here’s something it says, “One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do. Two can be as bad as one. It’s the loneliest number since the number one.”
One is alone. If you are alone and you’re not currently in an intimate relationship, you can prepare yourself to have that intimate relationship that you want or may need. If you are in an intimate relationship, you are in a binary star system, but you’re not growing closer, you’re growing farther away. When you feel loneliness in a relationship, that frankly may be more lonely than being alone because you know on some level that you should be being fed by that relationship. You should be receiving joy, satisfaction, happiness, and peace, but you’re getting none of those things. You are truly alone because, unless you end that relationship, you have no way to create a righteous relationship with anybody else.
From my perspective, two can be lonelier than one if you’re not working, not growing, and not getting closer together. Let’s talk about that getting closer together part. How do you do that? There are lots of books out there. There are lots of things to do, but it’s work. It requires a commitment on both parts. It’s very hard and difficult when one partner is pulling away or when partners take turns pulling away. It becomes very difficult to trust that there is a loving, committed, and long-lasting relationship there. Withdrawing from your partner physically or emotionally creates tension.
If you think about binary stars and you say for a minute, “Let me assume that instead of gravity, what I’ve got is a couple of good-size rubber bands.” What’s happening is, instead of the rubber bands drawing them closer, we are putting tension on those rubber bands by trying to pull in the opposite direction. If you think of that, you feel that tension pulling that uncomfortable feeling. When you’re not growing together, one or the other of you is pulling away.
What happens too is at some point, the rubber bands break or the force of gravity becomes so weak that the stars drift apart. An absence of something extraordinary do not come back together again. You better ask yourself the question, “How much tension can I put this relationship under and not destroy it?” If you remember, the two of you are here, but you’ve got these little planets circling around you. These planets called children, maybe stepchildren or children of yours, mine, and ours. All these little planets are revolving around you.
When you split apart, some of those planets are going to get lost out into space. They’re not going to be contained by the gravitational pull of either of you. You’re going to lose them. If you look at our society, you can see an awful lot of lost children. This responsibility and relationship that you have has an impact not just on you. It’s not all about you. If you think it is, you’re already in deep trouble and your relationship is in deep trouble. This relationship is not all about you meeting your needs. It is about making sure that each of you meet one another’s needs on a massive level.This relationship is not all about you meeting your needs. It is about making sure you meet each other's needs on a massive level. Click To Tweet
Think about that for a minute. If you are meeting your partner’s core needs on a massive deep level, what do they become? They become raving fans. Why would they ever then want to leave? You could then take out that issue. What if they’re going to leave? Are they going to find something better? No, they’ve got the best there is. As you fill their bucket up, they’re going to want to fill yours up. We’ll talk in some future shows about how you fill your partner’s bucket up and how you teach them gently, lovingly, and unnaggingly how to fill yours. When each of you are filling one another’s bucket of your needs on a massive level that it’s overflowing with great things. What happens is that gravitational pull comes closer and the relationship gets better.
Some of you say, “Our relationship’s great right now.” What if it could be better? “My relationship is not so good right now.” What if it could be great? What if you could be excited every morning when you wake up and look over on the pillow and go, “They’re still here.” You lay down at night and you put your arms around them and you go, “I’m the luckiest man or woman in the world because there’s no place I would rather be right here than right now with this person. I love them completely and I’m so glad I have them.” When you can feel that and you can say that to them consistently with feeling, your relationship will change. I’m Stan Padgett. This has been episode seven of Cracking the Relationship Code, Binary Stars. Have a great day.