Birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day—its easy to marvel at the expense incurred on one day of expression compared to “normal” days when a sharp stick in the eye or a passing animal grunt are the normal prize. A seeming lack of consistency in handling interpersonal relationships is the norm. No amount of workshops, webinars, books, small group gatherings, or group and personal therapy can shift you from the center of your universe.
YOU, Sir and YOU, Ma’am will have to acknowledge that your narcissism has destroyed every chance for a meaningful relationship, that the people you rejected were good people, that your fears created excuses used to justify not taking the relationship to the next level, and finally that you are alone with the same problem the first human experienced—no companionship.
There are many complicating factors that contribute to the inability to sustain healthy relationships. I am by no means offering a cookie-cutter suggestion. On the contrary, the 10 suggestions listed below are a beginning point for individuals currently involved in a relationship or individuals desirous of pursuing a meaningful relationship.
Due to the required levels of self-disclosure, selflessness, deference and service to the other, these suggestions are strongly recommended for individuals in marital or long-term relationships. Casual relationships where individuals seemingly lack “staying power” or ask “what do I get out of this” can find the suggestions too restrictive or demanding.
Check it out for yourself and see if you’re ready to commit to what it takes to build a strong relationship over time. I’m sure your special friend will be ecstatic if you began with an apology for being such a nit-wit (male or female) and without fanfare begin to consistently display one of the traits outlined below:
1. Steer clear of pettiness. Be kind to one another. Ephesians 4:32
2. Avoid folly. Listen to understand, NOT to respond. Proverbs 18:13
3. Keep an open heart during conflict. Extend unconditional love, forgiveness, and acceptance. Matthew 18:15-22; 1 Corinthians 13:5b
4. Be brave. Tell the truth regardless of the circumstance. Proverbs 10:9
5. Acknowledge the need you have to be touched in a right way. Hug each other often for no reason. Romans 16:16; 2 Corinthians 13:12
6. Calm yourself. Rid yourself of the “ill grill.” Smile when you are stressed out. Proverbs 15:1-2
7. Extend yourself. Ask The Lord to help you be “the friend” your friend needs. 1 Corinthians 13:5a
8. Treat your friend the way they want to be treated; not the way you think they should be treated.
9. Be generous. Give without manipulation. Luke 6:35
10. Develop a realistic perspective about yourself. Be willing to laugh at yourself. Romans 12:3