All of us are striving to have healthy relationships. For me, looking in the mirror first has helped me to see the reason why some of my relationships have been weak. We reap what we sow. If we fail to give in a relationship, it will eventually die.
There are a couple of ways we can improve our relationships. The first is to look at our past experiences. We can observe what we are doing in a strong relationship and apply it in an area that needs attention.
The second way to make our relationships better is to model the experiences of others. We can learn so much if we take the time to study people who have great relationships. I learned about writing love letters in a retreat my wife and I attended. It is still the first thing we both day every morning when we wake up. Even after doing this for five years, there is still something new we learn about each other every day.
Sometimes we have great relationships but something happens and they become unhealthy. For example, lets say you are a couch potato and one day you wake up and decide you want to be a marathon runner. If you are surrounded by couch potatoes, be prepared for some challenges. I wrote about this in an earlier post. When you change, the people around you may not be ready. The other couch potatoes may realize that you are going to be busy running. You will eat differently. Watching TV all day may no longer be appealing. This may be the time to seek out others who want to run in marathons.
If you are in a long-term relationship like marriage and the other person changes, this can put some stress on the relationship. You can support the person who wants to make a change even if marathon running may not be your thing. If you resist the change, the relationship may suffer.
The best lesson I have learned about relationships is that when I put God first, all the other relationships get better. I trust that God's plan for me includes the people around me. It helps me to be more understanding when dealing with change. These daily posts are a new part of my life now. Even though my wife rarely reads these messages (the daily loves letters are enough for her), she supports my calling and offers me encouragement. It helps that both of us share common goals for the future. It is what keeps us in the boat in stormy weather.
If you are seeking to improve your relationships with others, try making small changes to show others you care about them. Be accepting when the people around you are seeking to make positive changes. You may not want to be a marathon runner but you can always show up and encourage your friend when he or she crosses the finish line. A true friend will help others to become the best they can be...