21 Ways to Upgrade Your Relationships (Part 2)

Upgrading relationships is not about fixing other people. Rather it is about being intentional toward others.  

(You can read Part 1 here)

Consider these possibilities for upgrading your relationships.


4. Be intentional about loving another. After all, loving God and loving others are the greatest commandments according to Jesus. One place to begin loving others is your relationships with your spouse, children, co-workers, and friends.

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You might find it helpful to reflect on the following questions:

Can my commitment to love others really be seen in tangible, practical actions toward my present relationships? Do I take intentional loving actions toward these people?


5. Receive these individuals just as they are. In contrast, some people, in their relationships, are constantly critiquing and evaluating others.

Recently, I looked for another car, a used car. (Perhaps I should use the language of the car lots. I was looking for a pre-owned car.) After weeks of walking through car lot after car lot, I finally found a particular car that really caught my interest. I began to give serious thought to buying this car. Before buying this car, however, I inspected this car several times. I drove it. I walked around it, keeping my eyes peeled for any dent, nick, or blemish. I inspected the inside of this car, carefully looking for any cut or tear in the fabric or any sort of spot. I did not want to purchase this car and then get home only to realize that I had not inspected it close enough. Inspecting a car like this can be very helpful when buying a car. It is not good to practice this in relationships.

My wife, children, and friends do not need my constant critique and evaluation. Rather, they need for me to receive them and love them just the way they are.


6. Be quick to apologize. I have a friend who once had a strong disagreement with a close friend. In the course of the disagreement, the friend made some very insulting and hurtful remarks to the other guy. As a result, their friendship had a rift for many years. At one point my friend said, “If the relationship is to continue, I will have to move on past these remarks.” I then asked, “Did he ever apologize to you?” My friend said, “I’ve known him for a long time. He is not the kind of person who ever apologizes for anything.

How sad. We all blunder. We all mess up. We all make mistakes. Perhaps you make a thoughtless remark or an attempt to be humorous is taken as an insult. Yet, we enhance our relationships if we are quick to apologize.


Question:

What is important to you as you think about your own behavior in relationships? What especially does damage to significant relationships?



Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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4 thoughts on “21 Ways to Upgrade Your Relationships (Part 2)

  1. Thank you Ann. It is interesting that some of the most important things that we can are often very difficult but nevertheless are so important. At least I have found this to be true in my life.

  2. It’s striking that the most important things we can do are often very difficult. Could it be that if they were easy, we wouldn’t want to do them, or even if we did want to do them, we wouldn’t mean them?
    I think the difficulties in these things (such as being quick to admit fault and apologize) are there in order to help us be intentional in them. Apologizing shouldn’t come easy; if it did, it would just be an empty phrase, nothing more.
    It is the same for critquing friends and family. It’s far too easy to pick on problems; far harder to praise for good things. I’ve learned through work experience that whenever I want to give a corrective, to balance it with something that the employee is doing well. This helps him to know that I’m there to support him unconditionally in making progress, not just correct things that”should” be corrected. The most important thing, I’ve learned, in these circumstances (and certainly in a family setting) is to let the people you’re relating to know that you believe in them, something they don’t often hear if you’re just picking on problems. Don’t know if that makes any sense, but it’s what I think.

    • Yes, Alison what you say does make a lot of sense. I like what you stress here. The easy thing to do is not necessarily the most productive. The things that come hard are often the things that ultimately bear good fruit. Thanks.