This month, people around the globe will be celebrating their significant others with an abundance of heart shaped everything. Thoughtful notes and tasty treats will be dispersed generously, and Valentine’s Day will once again dominate the month of February. While many interpret Valentine’s Day to be focused on romance, it can be used to celebrate much more!
At Life’s Choices, we believe in fostering healthy, whole relationships. Through our relationships classes and resources, we encourage our clients to pursue true, invested love — not just romance. While there’s nothing wrong with chocolate boxes and pink sweets (we like them, too!), this February, we’re sharing four practical tips to help develop healthy relationships.
1. DO EVERYTHING IN LOVE
“ Let all that you do be done in love.”
– 1 Corinthians 16:14
Though this might feel like an obvious first tip, we believe that selfless, sacrificial love is the foundation of every healthy relationship. From this point, everything else stems.
The famous “wedding” Bible passage, 1 Corinthians 13 says it best:
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends...”
–1 Corinthians 13:4-8
At the root of it all, our relationships can only thrive when we know and understand this kind of God-ordained love. In order to love others, we must love the way that God loves us — kindly, selflessly and graciously (John 3:16).
2. CONSIDER LOVE LANGUAGE(S)
“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”
– Romans 12:10
The way we personally feel loved can impact the way we love others. However, sometimes the way others need to be loved can differ from how you’d naturally choose to love them.
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of Service
- Quality Time
- Physical Touch
Everyone is different, and the way each of us needs to be loved is, too. Knowing and understanding your partner’s love language can help you “do everything in love” and to do it effectively.
3. LISTEN WELL
“Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger…”
– James 1:19
One of the most common factors that leads to misunderstanding is a lack of effective communication, and a key factor in successful communication is understanding your subject. Whether working through a disagreement or being supportive in a difficult situation, listening well — being quick to hear and slow to speak — will make all the difference.
Sometimes our natural reaction is to “word vomit” everything we’re feeling the moment we feel it, but this kind of strategy (or lack thereof) is often counterproductive. Many times, this can lead to your significant other feeling attacked which can put them on the defense and create a cycle of murky communication.
When each party has had a chance to express themselves without interruption, both feel heard and valued. That’s why it’s so important to take turns in your dialogue.
4. RESPOND GENTLY
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
– Proverbs 15:1
Once you’ve given the other party time to share their piece without interruption, it’s important to proceed with wisdom. Your significant other may themselves have hurt you with their words or actions, but your response could be a defining moment in what happens next.
When it’s your turn to talk, remember that the Proverbs tell us that “a soft answer away wrath.” Having truly heard and processed their perspective, use this time to express how you feel without harshness or an attacking spirit.
For example: Instead of “You always blame me for everything!” try phrasing it, “When you say ____, it makes me feel like you’re placing the cause of the situation on me.”
Take your time in processing how you feel, and once you’ve let yourself listen and think of how to discuss, THEN respond.
FOR MORE TIPS
We want each of you to experience positive and healthy relationships, and we would love to be a resource for you! If you’d like to continue growing and thriving in your relationship, we offer FREE relationship classes!
To schedule your free relationship class or for more information on other classes we offer, visit our website. All of our classes are free, one-on-one with your own personal coach and made to fit your schedule!