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What To Look For In A Christian Relationship
by Greg Baker
4/15/2010 / Relationships
No matter what type of relationship you have, marriage, family, or friends, to have a functioning relationship you need three things that are essential to the success of that relationship.
I pastor a Church, and when I do marital counseling I can tell where a marriage is struggling, weak, empty, or strong all based on these three areas of their relationship. Each one of the three elements produces footprints in that a knowledgeable counselor can follow to determine the strength of a relationship.
By themselves, they seem rather obvious, but upon examination we begin to see the intricacies of these elements to determine behavioral patterns in relationships. It is possible to trust someone you don't love, or love someone you don't trust, or even be attracted to someone you don't trust or love. You can even love someone that you don't like. Oh yes, family members do this all the time.
As you can see, these aren't simple elements that we can simply take for granted. If all three of these areas are strong on both ends of the relationship, then you have a very strong relationship. If even one of these is missing from either side, you have a problem. The more that are missing, or the more that are weak, the larger the problems you have in the relationship.
Let's take a closer look.
All relationships start here. You looked at a girl and became attracted to the way she walked, looked, smiled, or behaved. The attraction enabled you to notice each other. You only opened up because you liked his manner, kindness, and gentleness. Without the initial attraction, there would be very little relationship to begin with, or nothing at all.
What makes for strong relationships is when you have things in common, such as sharing the same values, principles, and likes and dislikes. These attractions build interest and comfort in a relationship.
But it is something that can be lost. Married couples who don't maintain their attraction to each other suddenly develop problems in their relationships.
Signs that 'attraction' is a problem in your relationship:
* You don't like being around them much.
* You get irritated at little and insignificant things that they do.
* You feel more comfortable or relaxed when they aren't around.
If this is you, you need to rekindle the attraction. Find new hobbies, new experiences to share together. Rediscover all that you have in common and enjoy those things together. If you can't think of any, find new ones.
I don't believe that love is some sort of warm fuzzy emotion. I believe that love is a decision and an action that is often demonstrated by personal sacrifice. I also believe that your love is based on who you are, not who the person you love is.
If you love someone because of what they do or don't do, your love isn't love, it is attraction. Love is something that comes from you as a gift. It is based on who you are.
Many people like being around each other, but they don't really love each other. They aren't willing to make personal sacrifices when the going gets rough. They love to hang out with you, or do things with you, but they'll split when things get difficult.
Signs that 'love' is a problem in your relationship:
* You don't like making sacrifices for them.
* You don't want to be involved with their problems.
* You feel put upon when they bring problems to you.
* You have no interest in their difficulties or problems.
* Their problems push you away instead of bringing you closer.
Interestingly enough, two people who don't like each other but actually do love each other will find that their relationship is strongest when they have a problem. The problem actually binds them together and they tackle the problem together. But when there is no problem, they can't stand being around each other.
Ever see a boy who couldn't stand his little brother? But if a bully threatens his little brother, watch out! Here comes big brother. Although he doesn't like his little brother, he does love him.
Trust is something that must be earned. You don't give away trust like you do love. Everyone will agree that trust is important in a relationship. You can't just demand that someone trust you.
This is the final stage of a developing relationship. It beings with attraction, or liking each other, and you often give the gift of love, but only time can fully develop this issue of trust. Trust is important.
Signs that 'trust' is a problem in your relationship:
* You are suspicious of them.
* You question their actions and motives.
* You only feel comfortable when you are near them, but not when they are away from you.
* You find it difficult to believe their words.
* You find yourself insecure in the relationship.
What really makes relationships a mess is when the missing or weak element is different for each person involved. Say a wife doesn't trust her husband, and the husband doesn't really like his wife anymore. In this case, she is suspicious, jealous, controlling, and only content when he is where she can keep an eye on him. Conversely, he can't stand to be around her. He doesn't find her enjoyable anymore and her suspicion and jealousy make him want to be away from her even more. This makes for a mess.
Say that a brother doesn't like his sister, but he loves her, yet the sister likes her brother, but doesn't really love him. In this case, the brother only ever feels close to his sister when she's in trouble. But she, on the other hand, likes to be around him, but can't handle his problems or troubles. This makes for an awkward relationship to say the least.
Examine your own relationships and find out which areas need to be improved and built up. We can always improve.
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