Most of our lives revolve around relationships. Who we are and how we view the world is heavily influenced by our relationships. Relationships span from the comfort of a close friend and the security of family to the intimacy of a boyfriend and the cordial interaction of a classmate. The people we have a relationship with, as well as how we approach that relationship, impact our personal wellbeing and future prospects.
In order to have a healthy and good relationship, you must first define “healthy relationship.” Proverbs 13:20 says, “Whoever walks with the wise will become wise; whoever walks with fools will suffer harm.” A good relationship is one that complements the character of one another. The persons involved in a good relationship challenge one another to stimulate growth, helping to build a stronger and closer relationship with the Lord. Healthy relationships aren’t harmful to anyone involved.
Mutual Respect for One Another
You will never agree 100% with everything that someone else does. That’s why it’s important to have respect for the people in your life. Disrespecting others opens up opportunities to argue about things that don’t carry long-term significance. Rather than argue, ask polite and thought-provoking questions that allow you to learn. Inquiring respectfully and honorably places you in a position to challenge and inspire other people. Even if you don’t come to the same conclusion, you still must respect their decisions. A healthy and good relationship is a sign of mutual respect even when there is difference of opinion.
Authority Exists in Good Relationships
The matter of authority isn’t just regarding parents. Your parents are an authority in your life, as well as many other people, like a teacher, counselor, coach or school administrator. Authority is having the power to make decisions, influence others and enforce obedience because of one’s commanding manner or recognized knowledge. Yes, it’s about age, but it’s also about role, confidence and personal experience.
The position of who is an authority can and does change throughout life.
- Parents: Your parents are your authority but may not be when it comes to a particular subject. For example, you may be one of the best swimmers on the swim team. You practice daily and have trained for years. Your dad isn’t a good swimmer, nor has he ever taken a swim lesson. This makes you an authority over your dad when it comes to the topic of swimming.
- Teacher or Counselor: A teacher or counselor has authority over you. Once you graduate he or she no longer has that authority, but still deserves your respect.
- Friends: Someone of the same caliber, such as a boyfriend or best friend, doesn’t have the right to be an authority over you, although they will have certain influences.
- Siblings: Just because you’re older than your siblings, doesn’t mean you have authority over them (unless your parents have asked you to baby-sit and you’re responsible for their actions and wellbeing).
Biblically, God is our authority and the head of every authority. If we follow His ruling in our lives, then we’ll willingly follow the leading and direction of those God’s placed in our lives to guide us. According to scripture, the Lord gives us authority for building up rather than tearing down (2 Corinthians 10:8). This means that it’s appropriate to question our authority if it goes against God or requires us to be harmful to ourselves or another person. Romans 13 says that when someone rebels against authority, they’re rebelling against God. Use your authority wisely and be discerning about the direction of those who have authority over you.
Trust in Healthy and Good Relationships
Trust is being able to lean and rely on someone, believing that they have your best interest at heart. Trust can be demonstrated by obedience. If you don’t understand why someone is doing something, use the respect that you have for them and trust that they’re making the right decisions. You do not know the entire situation, may not understand the circumstances in which the other person’s acting, or you may not have the experience or knowledge to know why a decision is being made. It’s often appropriate to share how you feel about the situation at hand. If the other person trusts your judgment, they’ll follow your guidance where appropriate.
If someone has been dishonest in the past, it’s hard to trust their words and actions. If this is a reoccurring event, then it’s not a healthy choice to stay in this relationship. However, if you see that the person is working toward being trustworthy, then give them the time needed to mend the relationship. Trustworthiness takes time to establish, so don’t end a relationship just because someone wronged you if they’re working to make amends.
Healthy Relationships Embrace Honesty
It’s crucial to be honest with the people you have relationships with. Honesty is being truthful, real and, in many cases, vulnerable. Even though honesty can sometimes hurt, it actually protects the person you care about. Honesty isn’t just sharing your opinion; it’s supporting those you love with information that will help them prosper. It’s not embellishing or leaving out information. It’s being honorable to all people involved.
If someone you have a good relationship with is doing something you strongly disagree with, it’s OK to let them know in a respectful manner. Provide your observation on the situation. Tell them your concerns. Chances are they’ll hear out your worries, even if you don’t think they will. Just remember that if you’re honest, you’ll be trustworthy and respectful because honesty brings pleasure and joy while deceitfulness and lies bring insecurity.
Everyone knows the saying, “communication is key,” and as cliché as it is, it’s true. You can’t have a good relationship without a strong communications channel. There’s a systematic approach to good communication:
- First, you must be open and informative.
- Then, you need to listen to the other individuals’ ideas.
- Next, you should express that you understand what they’re saying.
- You must demonstrate that you recognize the issue at hand by following through or obeying.
- Finally, you need to actively express your feelings and emotions on the matter.
It’s essential to establish ways to communicate with anyone you have a connection or else the relationship can go sour.
These five elements are essential for a strong, healthy and good relationship. If these elements aren’t present, and you want them to be, tell the other people that you desire a stronger, healthier relationship and what that will entail. The worst outcome is that person saying they don’t want to work on their relationship with you. If that ends up being the case, then the relationship wasn’t worth having to begin with.