In a study conducted by researches about what tops the charts as a success– the consistent answer was close relationships. So, what can we do to build good relationships? Truth is not much. Relationships that are good and healthy evolve out of ‘being’ a specific type of person.
Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor.Ecclesiastes 4:9 NKJV
Who we are in a relationship is far more important than what we do. This is why no matter how hard you try– you can’t change what someone does or does not do. Changing their actions because you told them too, does not change who they are– their core being is what makes them who they are.
People can choose to change their core being but it does not happen on its own or overnight. It is not something you can just tell someone to change and expect in an instant it is all different.
7 ways of ‘being’ in order to help build good relationships
1. Be someone who listens
Being an active listener in a relationship is important. Each person in the relationship needs to feel heard and understood by their partner. Those that have good relationships– friends, family, children, or spouses– take the time to hear what the other is saying. Not interrupting, judging, or jumping to conclusions, but being slow to speak and quick to listen to understand.
2. Be someone who is safe
A close relationship is built on feelings of security. People need to feel safe or they will not be willing to open up. Keeping your word and promises create a sense of security. Once someone feels safe– trust is earned– and the relationship flourishes.
3. Be someone who helps others
Healthy and happy relationships are rewarding. People that have security in one another also help each other out. Sometimes by helping with tangible things such as household chores or a ride to a soccer game– and sometimes by giving encouragement and support. Regardless of the help we give– we should be doing it because we want to not because we feel like we have to.
3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.Philippians 2:3-4 NKJV
4. Be some who puts yourself in the other persons shoes
Empathy is the fancy way of saying seeing the world from someone else’s perspective. To build a good relationship there is a need for the balance of empathy from each person. This helps us to understand why the other person may think, act, and feel the way they do in any given situation. Forming effective empathy takes time and effort. It is a decision that we must make with each interaction– intentionally choosing to show empathy for another person. The hard-work and investment of showing empathy is well worth the effort!
5. Be someone who can receive
When the scales are unbalanced in a relationship– one is always receiving and one is always giving– both people will end up feeling less than happy, lacking in different areas. In a healthy relationship there is an even balance of give and take– we need to allow others to care for us– just as we do them. Being a good friend, spouse, parent, etc. does not mean we have to do all the giving.
Think of it like this: There are two glasses of water each half full. Glass A is the giver and Glass B is the taker. If A steps up and helps B, some of the water from glass A is poured into glass B– leaving glass A with a little less water each time and glass B with a little more. If this pattern of giving continues– eventually glass A will be empty and glass B will be overflowing. However, when each take turns being the giver and taker they both will remain balanced– neither empty and neither overflowing.
6. Be someone who can withstand the storm
13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.Colossians 3:13 NKJV
Almost every relationship will eventually encounter some rough patches. The storms of life come rolling in with no warning and their path of destruction in our lives vary in severity. In a healthy relationship there comes a time where both parties need to dig deep below the surface and talk about the ‘hard’ things. Talking about true feelings, likes and dislikes, the good and the bad.
If we are mature enough to talk with each other about these things the storm can bring a deeper, more genuine relationship and unlock a whole new level of intimacy. Conflict is a rough season but is a temporary price to pay for building solid, healthy relationships.
7. Be someone who knows how to say no or walk away.
Some relationships cannot work. Unfortunately there are people in the world who no matter what you do will not be pleased. Every relationship needs nurturing, but some are doomed for disaster– due to one or both parties denial or lack of effort.
If we are in a relationship that is causing us to do something we do not want to do, likely this is not a healthy relationship. If we are in a relationship that is consistently toxic and leaving us feel rejected or ‘not good enough’– this is not a healthy relationship. When this is the case we need to call it quits– this type of behavior is damaging to our own health and limits our usefulness to God.
In summary, building good, healthy relationships is complex and requires specific fundamental elements, time, and effort from both parties. When we are attempting to build good relationships or maybe even trying to shift our current ones– it is most fruitful to start with yourself.
Examine the person you truly are at the core. Do your actions, reactions, and choices reflect the type of person you want to be? Focusing on our own ‘being’– the person God called us to be– will help us to form and grasp on to the good relationships God has given us or will give us.
As the saying goes ‘change starts from within..’
Thank you Lord for the freedom to choose the relationships we form in our life. Thank you for sending Jesus to be the ultimate example of your love. I am so grateful for the relationship I have with You. Forgive me for the times I do not take the time to look within and examine my own intentions, feelings, and desires. God expose to me the type of person I am at my core and help me to transform any areas that do not line up with your Word. Give me discernment when forming new relationships and guide me in the ones I currently have. I want to know you more and be an example to others of your love and forgiveness. It is in Jesus name I pray