In every season of our lives, there’s one thing that remains constant: the need for us to grow and maintain our relationships.
Growing up, I lived in a busy home with 5 other siblings. Today as a doctor, I spend most of my time in male-dominated professional environments. And on a daily basis, I work with all different types of patients with complex personalities and health problems.
Let’s just say that God has taught me a lot about relationships in these environments in my 45 years of life.
But whether it’s with family, colleagues, spouses, or friends, there are 4 elements I’ve seen that consistently produce healthy, successful, and long-lasting relationships that honor God.
Now – by no means have I perfected all these things myself. The Lord knows I’m still a work in progress! But during a month where we tend to talk a lot about love and relationships, here are 4 key factors that can help them to go the distance.
1) Open, honest, clear communication.
When it comes to uncomfortable topics, we’re often reluctant to speak up because of our fear of hurt or misjudgment. But communicating through difficult things is so important. If we don’t speak up when there’s a problem, our relationships won’t be rooted in truth. It takes consistent initiation and honesty to improve and heal our relationships. This is especially true when it comes to marriage.
So many marriages and friendships have broken apart because of unspoken presumptions. These misguided emotions can become overwhelming and lead to arguments, hurt feelings, and irreparable damage. For our relationships to be harmonious, both parties have to be willing to discuss uncomfortable topics. Healing never comes without honesty and truth.
A helpful scripture:
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” – Ephesians 4:29
2) Consistent boundaries.
If you want a long-lasting relationship that continues to grow stronger, you’ll want to have some boundaries. Boundaries provide clarity and clear guidelines for the foundation of your relationships. Boundaries determine how you speak to and treat one another. They highlight your expectations and help to prevent offense. Be honest with yourself and others about the boundaries that are important to you. And share the truth in love when you feel someone in your life has crossed them. Your loved ones cannot honor what you haven’t expressed, so make your boundary lines clear and stick with them.
A helpful scripture:
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 7:12
When we forgive an offense from someone else, we actually become lighter, more joyful people. So many of us today are holding on to hurt, pain, and confusion from things that have happened in the past that we have not addressed. But we cannot recover from what we refuse to forgive. Forgiveness is like a muscle that must be exercised to grow stronger. If you’re struggling to forgive someone in your life that has hurt you, ask God for the grace and strength to help you through it. There is so much freedom to be found on the other side of your offense.
A helpful scripture:
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32
4) Practice this; the way of Life.
Have you ever wondered if you’re a good wife, mother, friend, or employee? Have you struggled in your relationships to find your place and purpose? While we won’t always do everything perfectly, we always have God’s grace. I’m so grateful that the Bible gives us clear guidelines on how to live and love well, found in 1 Corinthians 13.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
Which of these 4 relationship factors is God calling YOU to work on in this season?
Dr. Mary Grace D. Pampo, DOM, CNHP has specialized in natural mind-body-emotion-environment optimal health systems for the last 22 years. She has guided her patients over 40 to overcome stress, chronic pain, women’s health issues and more. In her pastime, she enjoys being with family, cooking international dishes, singing, body mobility, nature & learning about culture & people, and adventures.