It goes without saying that each of us develop issues in our relationships. Sadly, however, consider how often we seek out others’ advice or answers and find no good results, or give up on relationships altogether when things get tough. Search no farther! God’s Word is practical, and he provides us many concrete ways to help us experience restoration and eventually flourishing!
Here are a few Biblically-based practices (taken from Dick Scoggin’s “Becoming One” series) that are solid foundations for building a healthy relationship.
- Develop intimacy with the Lord. Our basis of good communication comes from an overflow of our relationship with Christ (1 John 1:3).
- Listening to each other (Proverbs 18:13)
- Openness and honesty (Ephesians 4:25)
- An understanding attitude (1 Peter 3:7)
- Getting beyond yourself to understand the other person (Philippians 2:1-4, Ephesians 4:1-3)
- Practicing self-control (Ephesians 4:26-27)
- Careful selection of words and tone of voice (Ephesians 4:29, Proverbs 12:18)
- Patience (Ephesians 4:31-32)
Healthy relationships also require vulnerability. The more you are willing to be honest and even reveal your weaknesses and insecurities, the more your relationship will get stronger. Though it is easier to retreat and allow your fears of criticism or judgment from the other to keep your from being vulnerable, your relationships will lack depth. With the guidance and healing from the Holy Spirit, you can learn to let go of the fear and self-protection, and learn to let your emotional guard down.
Healthy relationships require forgiveness. In Matthew 18:21-35, Jesus reminds us of the of God’s unfathomable, amazing forgiveness, and in turn he asks us to do the same for others. As many of us have experienced, when trust is lost, it is nearly impossible for a friendship or relationship to grow and deepen. On the other hand, genuine repentance and choosing to offer a humble apology, as well as a response of accepting it, are essential to allowing a relationship to be restored after a fall-out.
If you feel that you are at an impasse in a relationship, fight hard to restore it. Trying these helpful practices may lead to breakthrough!