Unless you live under a rock (you don’t), you have relationships with other people in your life. Some relationships you value more than others, like your spouse, your kids, extended family, and maybe a close friend or two. Other relationships are more distant but still valuable to you.
I’ve had relationships in my life that I have treasured, but now those relationships no longer exist. Our careers have separated us, or we have separated geographically by simply moving away from each other. We no longer have the necessary time to spend together. Life happens.
Healthy relationships require the full participation of at least two people. Everyone in the equation must participate in the relationship or it will not thrive.
Another requirement for a healthy relationship is time and effort. Good, strong relationships require time and commitment from both participants. Anything worth having needs time to develop and grow.
A relationship that endures the test of time will, no doubt, also occasionally encounter stress. Let’s face it, no two people are exactly alike. That’s a good thing. Life would be pretty boring if we were all clones of each other. God likes variety and knows we do, too.
Sometimes, we view things differently, because we all bring different perspectives to the table. We each have different experiences which impact our viewpoints and understandings.
Because of these realities, we should not be surprised when we sometimes find ourselves in conflict with others in our relationships. This is inevitable, so much so that we should prepare ahead of time to know how to deal with those conflicts.
When we recognize that conflict may appear in our relationships, it seems reasonable to prepare for it by agreeing to some basic ground rules on how to deal with conflict. A good starting point might be to understand and commit to dealing with others with respect.
How would it look to treat others with respect? Here’s a great perspective found in the Bible. Realize how you wish to be treated and then apply the same principles to how you treat others, is a rough translation of Matthew 7:12. Matthew 7:12
How should you treat someone who you feel has mistreated you? Try to put yourself in their shoes and imagine the influences that might have impacted them or influenced them to respond as they did to you. You may also wish to use your words to explain to them how their words or actions made you feel. They may be totally unaware of your feelings.
We need to realize that meaningful relationships require ongoing work and commitment. Sometimes we must be able to take more than we give. Other times we will need to give more than we take. An enduring relationship will be able to both give and take.
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