Good relationships don’t happen by accident. When you see a couple who truly love one another over a span of time, it’s not because life was easy. They had to work for a positive relationship with one another! Even great parent, sibling and coworker relationships don’t happen without effort.
We all have relationships we wish were improved from their current state. Here are five truths about good relationships to take into your friendships, family and dating life.
- Good relationships are built on trust. Our relationship with the Lord is an example of the vital role that faith plays in relationships. We cannot love someone we don’t trust. Trust based on proven character is the foundation of all positive relationships. We can trust God because He is completely good and holy. We trust others when we see a pattern and lifestyle of godliness in their lives. Positive relationships can only occur when we have this foundation of trust.
- Good relationships are honest about shortcomings. People in good relationships aren’t afraid of conflict. They know that conflict is necessary for good communication. In any close friendship or marriage, we get a clear look at our shortcomings. It’s not comfortable and certainly not fun! But by acknowledging our shortcomings with one another, we have an opportunity to grow and change. This is part of God’s sanctification process in us. He often uses our parents, siblings, friends and spouses to help us become more like Him.
- Good relationships require grace. Good relationships last because of grace. If we expect perfection of one another, there is no way we can continue in a positive relationship. But by giving grace to one another the way God has given grace to us, we’re able to steadily grow closer—as we grow more like the Lord! Grace is hard to give. We often want to hold others accountable to us for their actions. But by showing grace, patience and forgiveness, we call people to God’s standard—which is even higher than ours.
- Good relationships give both love AND respect. Most people talk about love in relationships. But relationships require both love AND respect. Sometimes respect is even more important than love! Many of us can love someone without respecting them, but in so doing, we’re saying we care for someone while believing they’re not capable of change or growth. Sometimes we have to put a faith investment in a person, seeing their potential, for them to truly begin to grow. Good relationships are based on this kind of faith in one another.
- Good relationships point back to Christ. Good relationships are an echo of the heart of God. He created relationships in the very beginning, and before the Fall, they were perfect. We would be in perfect community with both God and each other. Because of sin, that is no longer the case. But through Christ, we can once again have peace and joy with the people in our lives. By pursuing God’s design for relationships, we glorify His original intent and enjoy the full extent of His heart for community.