Building Good Relationships

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

This past week as God has challenged my walk I've also felt challenged to share a series of devotional type blog posts that I have in my heart. Scripture is extremely important in our spiritual health. It's like being a runner and not stretching or hydrating.

This morning I felt led to talk about relationships. What can be done to build a good relationship? What does a good relationship look like? I have experienced so many bad, that I'm finally recognizing the good. It all started with me realizing that we cannot do a whole lot to cultivate a healthy relationship. Techniques simply do not work. Real relationships evolve out of being a certain kind of person. We must focus on who we are in a relationship rather than what we do. 

Photo by Meg Martino Photography | My best friend
Ecclesiastes 4:8 says, "There is one alone, without companion: He has neither son nor brother. Yet there is no end to all his labors nor is his eye satisfied with riches. But he never asks, "For whom do I toil and deprive myself of good?" 

The Bible makes it clear that isolation and loneliness is not good or pleasant. You can work your butt off and wake up one day and realize, "I have no one to share this with. This is not worth it."

Following are a few of the most important ways of "being" in order to have, cultivate, and encourage good relationships.

Be someone who listens.

At the heart of every good relationship is the ability to listen and to try and understand what another person is saying, regardless of how you feel or what you think. Without accurate listening, a good relationship can never be built. Listen intently and respond appropriately, even if that means not responding immediately. Like a mirror reflects an image, we can reflect the person's message by saying something like, "What I hear you saying....." or repeating a small bit of what they've said back to them.

Be someone who is safe. 

A close relationship is built on feelings of security and trust. You cannot have a healthy relationship without these things; especially a dating relationship or marriage. If people do not feel safe, there is no hope of them ever opening up and being authentic or real with you. People who keep their word, follow through, and encourage their friends to be themselves create a sense of security in the relationship. Once you earn someone's trust, your relationship is able to flourish.

Be someone who serves. 

In rewarding relationships people don't just have feelings of security and trust but they also give to one another more than they like to receive. If a relationship is built upon Jesus and two servants you cultivate a relationship of giving; and not selfishness. Sometimes that help may be literal or tangible; a ride to work, babysitting the kids, etc. At other times it may be praying for you, giving you reassurance after a job interview. The point is we should help them because we want to and because we are appreciated, not because we have to.

Be someone who walks in another's shoes. 

The bible says we are to carry one another's burdens (Galatians 6:2). You have to try and learn to see the world from another person's perspective. You have to aim to have empathy. Once we put ourselves in other people's shoes we begin to understand why they may react, feel and think the way they do. Remember, it's not always about you. 

Be someone who weathers turbulence. 

Almost every good and healthy relationship eventually encounters a rough spot, a time when both people, whether in a marriage, dating situation or friendship, feels like giving up. It can be a scary phase in a relationship especially when a lot of time has been invested. It is a good indication though of a conversation that needs to happen about your true feelings; your likes and dislikes, the good, the bad and the ugly. But if we are mature enough the time of turbulence can lead to a deeper more intimate and more beautiful relationship.

Be someone who is constant and consistent. 

Some friends carry the ability to go months and years without talking and then they can pick right back up where they left off. Some don't. Know your friend or significant other well enough to know what helps make them feel secure. When someone is constantly in and out of your life or does not follow through or stay true they are setting up a foundation of inconsistency that can lead to a lot of really big issues in the future. Be constant.

Be someone who knows when to call it quits. 

There are some relationships that are not worth the work for the level of intimacy we are seeking. Of course, every relationship needs nurturing, but some relationships no matter how hard you try are doomed to disaster. If we are in a relationship where we are constantly trying to win the persons acceptance or approval or never feel accepted or good enough, the relationship is probably not a good one. You should be able to walk in who you are and your friend or significant other should be able to challenge you to grow not to hurt you. When you are in this type of relationship we need to call it quits before the other person's rejection damages us and limits our usefulness to God.


Ultimately, and in closing, relationships are complex. Building your relationships strong by examining yourself to determine the type of person you are, rather than focusing only on the things we do. If we focus on who we are first the things we do will follow naturally.

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