I was privileged to speak on Healthy Relationships with the ladies of the MomsNext group at River Bend Church in Austin a couple weeks ago! What great sharing and lively discussion we had together! I so enjoy having that kind of time with other women; not only to share experiences, but so that I can in some way encourage them in their lives as moms and wives.
How we love having our “girl time”, right? Women desire relationship, and we are made for satisfying relationships. We very much want a healthy relationship with our husband, children, family and friends.
Like so many other things in our lives, we have to learn techniques for healthy relationships. Yes, learn techniques! Just like anything else in our lives, healthy relationships are a learned and practiced process; it doesn’t come naturally. However the results are a sweet treasure that can be unwrapped each and every day!
Recently I finished reading an invaluable book called “The DNA of Relationships” by Gary Smalley. In his book, he references five steps we need to learn and follow for developing satisfying and healthy relationships:
- We have the power of personal responsibility
- We need to create a safe environment
- We need to keep our batteries charged
- We need to listen with our heart
- We must create teamwork and have a “no losers” policy.
(Proverbs 13:3 NIV)
In this passage, “guard” would mean to “keep under control or restraint as a matter of caution.” Do you know that we have the responsibility of choosing our own reactions to situations? We can so easily take what someone says or does to us very personally and immediately react — either by heated words, outward frustration or other type of emotional retaliation. Yes, the other person may push your buttons (and know very well the ways they can push those buttons!), but if you react, what will it solve? Nothing — it will only create tension and negativity. And so the dance begins. You react, they react again in return. Once it begins, the song can go on forever and either dancer will not end it. However, we do have the choice to stop the dance and make that decision to move away before things are said that can not be taken back and will become mental injuries to each other.
Do you know that as women, we have real power when it comes to our words? While this may sound exciting, it comes with great responsibility. We can say things to hurt, damage, and punish those that we love, taking away precious security that is necessary in the relationship. Remember what our moms told us when we were little? You’ve said it to your kids too, I bet: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all!” I think we better take this advice, don’t you? We have the choice to not say anything. The choice to stop and think before we speak. The choice to restrain from making that sassy comeback. It is hard? Of course it is. I struggle too. I’m not perfect, but I consciously make that resolution to guard my responses in all things because I now know how important it is to the life of my relationships.
Your decision to take personal responsibility will create a positive impact. If your marriage is mediocre or far from healthy, start with this one step first. If you struggle with your children, remember that they are watching everything you do and are learning from your example. Will your family say anything? Probably not, but guarantee that they will take notice.
A lot to think about? For me too. I am learning again right along with you. More thoughts on this subject next week.