My Top 5 Axioms for Relationships

This Sunday we finish 3 weeks on relationships.  Our texting Q &A last Sunday reminded me of some Bible-based axioms I’ve learned and return come back to ALL of the time in relationship dilemmas.  My top 5:

Grace is Free. Trust is Earned.

Granting forgiveness quickly and without condition is both right and healthy (and it’s what God did for us).  Trust is different.  Trust doesn’t come from an apology, it comes from a track record of trust-worthiness.  You know you are being “played” by a person you have forgiven when they try to make you feel guilty for not trusting them.  Trust needs a track record. (You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.-Matthew 25:23)

Unexpressed Gratitude Communicates Ingratitude.

It is this simple. You could be grateful for someone, but if it goes unexpressed you aren’t just communicating something neutral.  They are receiving the message that you are ungrateful.  This is the most unnecessary cost to relationships I see.

What Gets Rewarded Gets Repeated

A similar mistake to unexpressed gratitude is withholding affirmation because you FEAR someone will “settle in” and think they are good enough when you want them to keep changing.  Or you think pointing out the negatives will motivate them to change.  It might even work to produce behavioral change in the short term…at a great cost to relational connection.  If you want to encourage change AND build the relationship, find something positive to affirm and build from there.

Talk to friends who are Insightful, not Incite-ful

A good, honest friend can be a huge blessing to your marriage or other relationship.  Too often, though, we talk about our struggles with someone who wants to “pile on”.  They might even do it with naive, but noble intentions of “being supportive”.  When your relationship is in a tough spot, talk to someone who (1) will tell you the truth about you and the other and (2) has successfully navigated the same relationship you are struggling in.  It is much easier to gravitate to the advice we want to hear, but much better to listen to advice we need to hear.

Love is a Decision

Anyone can love when you feel like it.  Your relationships will never thrive unless you choose to love even when you don’t feel like it.  In fact, it is the only action that has the hope of actually changing a relationship.

Come this Sunday for the end of the series.  It is all about how to restore life and fullness to relationships through forgiveness…and very practical advice about how our apologies either lead to forgiveness or short-circuit it.

~ by Greg Lee on February 18, 2011.

One Response to “My Top 5 Axioms for Relationships”

  1. […] Read the original: My Top 5 Axioms for Relationships « Unique Chairs […]

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