What Makes Relationship Work?

Unless we exist totally void of human contact all of us are in some type relationship.  Marriages are relationships, we have relationships in our jobs, and we could say relationships exist in all aspects of our lives.  My question is simple, “What makes relationship work?” Obviously there have to be some guidelines in place to make relationships more than just people existing together.  In the following articles I will use the term relationship and marriage interchangibly. Some of the points we discuss will apply uniquely to marriage while others will not. If you find this material helpful you may use it.  I only request that you first ask for permission and that it be left in context.

God has placed a burden on my heart to help Christians build  strong relationships, particularly Christian men.  I have some things I feel a great need to share due to the things that have taken place in my recent past.  In the last 30 months I have made decisions that have changed my life forever. I am like most men.  I have said things in anger that shouldn’t have been said.  I have made decisions which proved to be poor decisions.  If a mistake exists I have probably made it.   My intent is to share the things I have learned, both good and bad,  in hope that others won’t have to go through the things I have had to experience.  My  goal is to put these concepts in book form and also prepare material which can be used in seminars. Presently my plan is to do three articles listing the basic points of successful relationships.  I will then follow up by talking about these points in detail.

My dad passed away seventeen years ago next March.  The older I get the more I realize just how wise he really was.  I wish I had listened closer to the things he said when I had the chance.  When faced with a decision that had to be made he would often say to me, “I have already bought that information.”  What he meant was he had already faced the decision I was facing.  In the past two and a half years I have learned a few things about relationship. Some of it good and some of it bad. I have already bought that information as my dad used to say. My purpose is to share the  things I have learned about relationship with the Christian world.  These points of successful relationship are in no particular order of importance.  I share them with you as God provides the inspiration.

  • Relationships are never successful because of the approval of others.  We often base our interaction with our chosen friend based on what other friends or family thinks.  If  any relationship is going to be successful it has to be between the two people involved. How many marriages have failed or never happened  because of inlaws or future inlaws who constantly interjected their thoughts and ideas  into places where they weren’t needed or desired.  I have known of men and women who were literally disowned by friends and family because the friends or family didn’t agree with the decision being made.  Families who use this tool to get their way are totally out of line and will answer before God on judgement.  The individuals who allow this pressure to mold their decisions will certainly find deep regret in their lives.   When God told us in Genesis  we were to leave father and mother and cleave to another He meant the relationship was between two and only the two people.
  • Relationships are often difficult because of preconceived religious ideas.  Unfortunately Catholocism has set many of the standards for what is acceptable and what is not when it comes to  marriage.  In my fellowship we see phrases such as innocent party, scriptural marriage, unscriptural marriage, and living in adultery.  None of these are Biblical terms.  These terms come directly from Catholocism.  We have allowed their view of marriage to determine what is acceptable in our lives.  If you choose to be in the Catholic church perhaps these terms should have a bearing in your life.  If you are going to be a Christian without the ties of man made rules then we need to understand what God desires in this matter.  God hates divorce but divorce is not an unforgivable sin.  The sin surrounding divorce occurs at the time of divorce not at the time of  remarriage.
  • Relationships require give and take from both parties. In  relationships one of the parties often is dominent.  For those of you who have been married for a significant length of time realize one or the other usually gets their way at the expense of the other partner.  Any relationship requires give and take on the part of both parties.  Today I heard someone say, “I’m unhappy because he (she) puts conditions on me.”  There has to be expectations on the part of both individuals.  It is unreasonable to think we can be one with another individual and there be no expectations.  Successful relationship requires we treat each other as we want to be treated.  We can’t put ourselves before our chosen friend.  In any successful relationship God has to be first with our partner second.  As individuals we can’t put ourselves ahead of God or our partner.  If we do the marriage will never work as God intended.
  • Successsful relationships require we employ the Ephesians 5 concept.  God tells us in this passage that the wife is to submit to the husband.  At the same time the husband is to love his wife as himself.  The man of God craves respect from his wife.  Submission means the wife makes it an important aspect in her life to give her husband the respect he needs and wants..  The role of the husband is to love the wife as Christ loved the church.  Guys this means more that than telling her, “I love you” on special days or right before you lay down at night.  I think as a man you know what I mean.  This means putting her before yourself.  It means having a willingness to lay down your life for her if necessary.  At times dying physically for her would be  the easier decision.  Putting her before yourself means having a willingness to give up your goals and wants to make sure she is secure in what she needs and wants.  This part of any relationship is a big deal.
  • Successful relationships require we keep no secrets.  Keeping secrets will  destroy marriage and relationship.  If we are one we should be one in every aspect.  How can I be one with any person and keep important knowledge from them?  Eventially everything is made known.  When secret knowledge becomes public it often destroys trust and breaks down the very foundation and fabric of any relationship.  Secrets cannot exist in a relationship and that relationship be successful for an extended period of time.

This is the first of a series of articles talking about relationship.  Please feel free to comment or ask any question.  If you disagree please do so in a civil manner and I will do my best to explain why I hold the views that I now hold. I cherish the opportunity to share my thoughts with you.   Thanks for reading and may God hold you in the hallow of His hand.  In Christ Dell Kimberly


2 Responses to What Makes Relationship Work?

  1. Carina says:

    Yes, it is a partnership in the highest of meanings. Mutual respect, love, attention, friendship and trust are the foundation. As humans though, we all have basic needs, wants, and desires from our partner. Sometimes, over time, or circumstance, things occur, change, or dwindle. Some people, I believe, are “prone” to infidelity Whether it be unfulfilled fantasy, ego, inability to commit oneself to one person. Those tend to stray without true remorse or care. Most however, do take their vows very seriously, and their intentions are to not only follow the word of God, but also their own personal set of morals, values and beliefs. When one partner does make the choice to act physically, in many instances, the partner is left hurt, angry, and bitter, but also needs to take a very close look in the mirror. Why ? What would cause the spouse to seek physical attention and comfort from another. In my situation, did I ever act on thoughts?, no. I would be a liar if I did not admit the thought was there. I lived with an addict. His “drug” of choice was Poker. Did I believe he loved me?, yes. Did I know he had a serious; often hidden problem?, yes. But as a human, I did become infatuated with a co worker. He was attentive, caring, kind, handsome, but mostly, made me feel important, and worthy.Something I had not felt in many years. The addiction and financial ruins were taking it’s toll. For years, never a Birthday gift, Christmas gift, card.. nothing. “I love you”, means little when all else is forgotten. They become mere words. I am not a materialistic person, but acknowledgment as a wife, mother, partner, friend was non existent, except in the bedroom. The “I’m sorry’s” also became just words. Words that meant little when rent couldn’t be paid, the kids went hungry, and I was forced to lie to all I cared about. Few, if any knew of his problem. So if I had strayed, would that action be my fault, yes. Was I to blame for the years of events leading up to it, no. But as a human, I craved attention, care, kindness, and most importantly comfort. Did I stick it out, never stray, and did my husband stop, yes. But had the “damage” been done?, yes. Do I forgive him for the years of sheer hell?, yes. Trust became a huge issue. For an independent woman to now worry every time he was late from work, or not answering his phone, cause great stress?, yes. Many times, after a long term marriage, if infidelity does occur, I truly believe the spouse must also take a very close look at their own actions, or lack there of, as well. Most people do not cheat; just because.

  2. Dell Kimberly says:

    Thanks for your thoughts. I will be dealing with some of these thoughts in the following weeks.

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