There’s no doubt that relationships have always been challenging, but doesn’t it seem like they’re even harder today than ever before? In countless conversations, I have heard many people tell me that they struggle when it comes to connecting closely with the people around them. There are 5 key issues that threaten strong, healthy relationships today.
When I was in high school, I had 2 friends who broke up with each after they had been dating for awhile. Not long after, I threw a party and made the mistake of inviting one and excluding the other only because I was trying to spare both of their feelings. Unsurpisingly, the one that I didn’t invite was offended because I chose the other over her. In the process, I burned that friendship. Looking back, I should have invited both and let them work out whether or not they wanted to come to my party. My new motto is, “Everyone is Welcome!” When it comes to your relationships, be an includer instead of an excluder.
If honesty is the best policy, dishonesty is the worst when it comes to relationships. This isn’t just the lies that we tell, but the things that we keep or hide from those close to us. After all, the things we try to cover up always seem to manage to come to light in one way or another. Without fail, secrets and lies lead to trouble. Strong relationships are built on trust, and trust is built by being consistently truthful with those around you.
We often reject others simply because we think they are different than us. And in many ways, they are. Even kids who grow up in the same home with the same parents are different. Usually the very things that draw us to others end up being the very traits that get on our nerves later on. Opposites attract, and then, opposites attack! Instead of rejecting someone for their differences, or even tolerating their differences, learn to celebrate what makes them unique. After all, variety is the spice of life! And if everyone was just like you, what a boring world we would live in.
Sometimes, I can be the worst at coming up with the perfect way to really insult someone, and think I am just being funny. Only, it’s no laughing matter when you hit a sensitive nerve in someone else. Our words can bring healing or discouragement to other people. I’ve found the difference is just engaging my internal filter and keeping my mouth shut at those times makes all the difference. When you think of something encouraging to say, fire away. Otherwise, keep it to yourself.
No one is perfect. If you’re in a relationship for any period of time, you will be let down. Our expectations sometimes lead us to put unrealistic demands on people that no one can live up to. That’s why every relationship requires massive doses of forgiveness. When you hold on to unforgiveness, it’s like drinking a bottle of poison and hoping the other person will die.Forgiveness means letting go of your right to punish the offender and placing them in God’s hands. Sometimes, this is an ongoing choice you make whenever you’re tempted to bring the hurt back to the surface. If you’re a follower of Jesus, you can choose to forgive because you will never have to forgive someone else more than God has already forgiven you.
When we break free from these 5 bad relationship habits, our ‘ships will be stronger and healthier. In our brand new message series, SHIP SHAPE, we’ll dive into deeper waters and discover some new strategies to get our ‘ships in shape. You’re invited to be with us for this powerful new teaching series.