AS the following story by a well-to-do man demonstrates, good relationships are based on what you value: He said, “I was dating a beautiful girl who lived a very privileged life. I had enough money to satisfy her whims. I proposed to her and we got engaged. But a few weeks later, I was in an accident and was left partially paralyzed. The girl I thought was spoiled, ended up taking care of me for several months and proved herself to be a loving woman and a faithful friend. She sold a lot of her things which I didn’t think she’d be able to live without. She learned how to cook special meals for me. And during the whole time, she didn’t show a hint of doubt, disgust, or fear” (Brightside).
1. Prioritizing relationships over things and needs over desires.
The young woman in the story placed her spouse’s wellbeing above vanity and materialism. Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. What you value determines where you put effort. Some relationships are natural or biological – others are formulated through common interests. There is a crucial connection in each case. In cases where such connections are not biological (such as sibling or parent-child), there must be a common reason to develop kinship. Things that connect people: Shared desires, responsibilities, goals and values or beliefs. It means therefore, for you to build or maintain any relationship with someone, you must have favour or love for things that that person loves. However, does it mean that you must love everything that person loves?
2. You don’t have to love everything your partner loves, but you must love what that person loves most.
“Underlying every great relationship is a couple’s parallel commitment to the same basic values that are unique to that relationship. [People] can, and often do disagree about how to go about manifesting those basic agreements, but they each know that those mutual agreements are the foundation that keeps their trust in each other alive” (Randi Gunther PhD.). Again, there can be disagreement on many issues, but the fundamental values must be common to all in the relationship.
Beware of the signals: Some people love the vain or dangerous more than the life-sustaining or wholesome: if the party is more important than church – check yourself – a signal. If his pleasure is more important than family – a signal. If she makes more time for shopping than for you, that is a signal. If he spends more time with the car than you – a signal. It means also, that you take time to understand what he or she loves most – what that person is willing to die for.
3. To be able to examine another person’s values, you must know your own.
What are the top three things in your life for which you are willing to die? Which comes first, second and third? Does your first, second and third match your partner’s? Benny Tate lists his as “God, family and church”. Seek ye first the kingdom of God. When you start a relationship, you agreed to a journey and if you do not know what it is about, it is your loss. Every relationship must be examined for its end goals and that relationship must also share a united view of its objectives. Amos 3:3, Can two walk together, except they agreed?
When you started your relationship (spousal, friendship, work buddy,) what did you believe was the other person’s purpose or ultimate expectations for that relationship; and, did you agree with those aspirations? You do not begin a journey with someone if you are unsure of that individual’s ultimate end goals or ultimate sacrifices. “If a man has not found something he is willing to die for, he is not fit to live” (MLK). The things one is willing to die for, is what will define their relationship with you. Mine places God first (Philippians 1:21). This is not rocket science. If you both are willing to live or die for the same things, that is a good place to start.
4. Finally, identifying and nurturing Godly relationships?
2 Corinthians 6:14, Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? Also, Bad company corrupts good character 1Cor. 15:33. If you have a friend that degrades family or denigrates moral values – not a good place to start.
How to sustain godly relationships:
• Love one another (sacrifice for Each other) (John 13:34-35)
• Invest in each other (1Thess. 2:8)
• Good heavenly relationship breeds good earthly connections (Boyd Bailey)
• Always treat a relationship as with a soul-winning objective (Luke 19:10).
If you treat everyone with heavenly objectives, you will do right by them most of the time and right by you too. If God comes first in any relationship, you are sure to succeed. For the Christian, the ultimate goal of any relationship is heaven.