Every human being has been created for relationships. God declared in Genesis 2 that it is not good for man to be alone. None of us truly thrive in isolation, even though we may try to convince ourselves that we are different. The truth is that the day you decide that you don’t need anyone else, is the day that you give in to the pain of having been burnt in relationships.
It is true that if you love someone, you empower them to hurt you. Yet loving another human being wholeheartedly and passionately is also the greatest form of fulfilment we can have as human beings No one is exempt from the roller coaster ride that we call relationships. It is the case for all of us, that everything we are happy about, and everything we are crying about is relationship related
God’s plan is to engage you in relationships. In fact, every significant thing that happens to you will happen via the people you relate to. Not only that, but your close relationships define who you are and what you become.
Since this is how life is, if we want to live well and enjoy our human experience, we have to develop the skill of relating well. This isn’t something we are born with, or even something we just grow into; it is something we must invest in and focus on to get the best results.
The most fundamental part of relating successfully to anyone is to learn the power of forgiveness. Forgiveness brings restoration; and love covers over a multitude of sins, faults and hurts.
Ask yourself this, “How many times am I planning to walk away and start all over again with someone new?”
It doesn’t have to be that way.
If forgiveness truly is beyond where things are at for you, maybe you had unrealistic expectations concerning that person.
Typically, when we embark on a new relationship, we have a standard in our minds to which we thought he or she would conform. When that doesn’t happen, we feel terribly let down; as if everything has somehow changed. Yet all that has changed is that we have been forced to come face to face with the other person as they really are.
This can be scary if we have pinned our hopes of having our needs met on that other person, since now it seems that those needs will be ignored. We have to settle it once and for all that God is the one who meets our needs. He is our source and none other.
If we are going to relate successfully, we have to get to the place where we are willing to deal with life as it is, and accept people for who they are, rather than insisting on holding onto an idealized image of what we believe the relationship should look like.
In short, we have to accept the other person with sober judgment and a balanced attitude, knowing that we too, are sometimes mean, thoughtless, hurtful in our comments and inconsistent in our behavior. That is why the scripture teaches us to bear one another’s burden; it’s because we all offend and give cause for hurt in the course of normal life.
It will help you, also, to recognize the four basic human needs that press on everyone. If your behavior to someone you love threatens one of these, your relationship will be on dangerous ground.
Acceptance – We all have a keen need to know that we are loved and needed by others just as we are. It’s amazing how many people have no one that accepts them. When you accept them you embrace the person who they are and you are willing to be the one person who helps them to mature. You can love someone but not accept them. When you love a person, you focus on what makes you happy about that person; when you accept them you meet what is not so good about them. You are privileged to be someone else’s burden bearer
Identity – We desperately need to know that we are valuable and individually significant. We have to get our sense of worth from God; others cannot confer worth on us: they can only confirm worth on us. However, if you look to someone else to give you what you have to get from God, you are at their mercy to define you. If you devalue another person, you attack them at their most sensitive point.
Security – Women in particular, but men also, need to know that they won’t be left stranded. Relationships that nurture don’t jeopardize another’s security. On the contrary, if, any time you start a conversation, you use threats, things will go downhill from there on out. If you want to correct the other, you have to start by saying, “ I’m not saying this because I don’t want you….” Once you jeopardize a woman’s security, or a man’s significance, there is no point engaging further in this conversation!
Purpose –Every human being needs a reason for living. It’s not a luxury or an optional extra; it is a basic need. We have a generation of wanderers, who think freedom is the ability to do what you want with no consequences. This is a misconception. When you are really free you have the ability and capacity to do what you need to do.
If you do something and there are no consequences, you have a meaningless life. If you are surrounded by people who are a downward pull, who don’t inspire you to become better, you will never become better and fulfill your potential. Hang out with people who are stretching you towards fulfilling your purpose, since the people who you hang out with exert a disproportionate influence on your outcomes in life. You cannot be an eagle if you hang out with buzzards. Your network will define your net worth.
Become deliberate about your relationships. Choose to have the courage to rise up again when someone betrayed your trust and rejected your affection. Don’t let bitterness set in and poison your attitudes. The greatest loser will be you.
I am praying for you as you read this that you will find relationships of true quality with people you can commit to for the long haul, as you serve the purpose of God together, side by side. There is nothing like it!