What are the some of the ways to maintain a healthy relationship? To name a few:
- Unselfishness/focus on the needs of others
- Quality time together; enjoying each other’s company
- Investment; acknowledging the relationship is an entity, and actively investing in the entity
A friend recently made an observation regarding my relationship with my wife and he asked me what I believe are the contributing factors to the success our relationship. First, how great is it when someone we know asks such a question! I was instantly grateful for this friend to care enough to observe and ask. The question itself reminded me that people are always paying attention; analyzing the behaviors of others, and curious about relationships for many reasons.
My response to the question was similar to the list above, but when I shared this story with my wife, she immediately added “we compliment each other”. She was referring to giving compliments of encouraging words (as Merriam-Webster defines compliments):
- a remark that says something good about someone or something
an action that expresses admiration or approval
Amy’s response was a reminder to me as to her own appreciation for compliments and certainly caused me to wonder the last time I complimented her on something. Compliments when given with pure intentions (or if you’re a Five Love Languages fan, “words of encouragement”) are outward acts reflecting our inward heart. They symbolize the focus on others and typically measure the depth of the relationship (for example, complimenting someone’s smile as opposed to identifying one of their personal strengths and sharing how you see them using that strength in an effective way).
In 1 Corinthians 14, Paul focuses on the theme of using spiritual gifts for building up others instead of ourselves. What a gift this chapter was for me to read today having just had the conversation last night with Amy regarding building each other up. God moves in mysterious ways, we just need to pay attention!
3 On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation.
5 Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.
26 What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. (1 Corinthians 14:3, 5, 26)
Father God, thank you for placing people in my life who have encouraged me in love and faith. Specifically in the last 36 hours, I’m completely humbled, honored, and in awe to reflect on so many names of people who have built me up! Amy, Robbie, Rick, Jared, Preston, Peyton, Pamela. May I continue to see these acts of love as gifts from you God. Show me where I am selfish in relationships and where my focus needs to turn toward others, that I love unconditionally so that you may be glorified. I cannot thank you enough for the love you have for us which is reflected in the death, burial, and resurrection of your son Jesus to save us from our sins. May this day glorify you. Amen.