June 14, 2012

Successful Relationships

Often the difference between a successful marriage and a mediocre one consists of leaving about three or four things a day unsaid. ~Harlan Miller

An unstoked fire doesn't take long to flicker and fizzle. You don't need a bucket of water to douse the flames, just the lack of attention will do. Relationships are like that, too. If they go too long ignored, they start to die.

Because of what we do or don't do, our relationships, like all living things, grow stronger or weaker every day. How easy it is, in our superbusy world, simply not to notice that a beloved relationship is faltering. How easy it would also have been to add some wood before the flame died completely.

It's common sense as well as positive spirituality to make sure that we make good connections with our loved one on a daily basis. There is no substitute for paying attention to our partners, saying words that heal and encourage. And there is certainly no substitute for touch~a pat on the shoulder, a squeeze of the hand, a passing hug. What priority could be greater? When the "us" is lost, the world is cold indeed.

I came across this passage in my morning devotional routine yesterday. Not only is this about marriage but it can be true about relationships that you may have with the people around you.

I have some pretty darn good friends. Christine I have known since I was 12 years old. Faithe I have known since I was 18 years old. Gayla I have known since before Fiona was born. Kim, my brother-in-law's wife who I see as my sister, I have known since her and Dan were engaged to be married. Then there are Brian, Nisa, and many other core friends who I adore. These are good solid friendships.

I believe what makes these relationships so successful is the fact that there is love, caring, fun, tolerance, and grace for one another. (There are many more positive attributes but not enough room to write them all down.) There is also mutual respect for each other as individuals. We each come from different backgrounds. We each have our own strengths and weaknesses. We are not cookie cutter.

No matter what is going on in our lives we cheer each other on and we allow grace for those moments when we do things we aren't exactly proud of but we all know at the end of the day we are still loved and valued by the other person.

Our friendships are give and take. We hear each other out and we move on knowing that we are not being judged. Thank goodness we are not cookie cutter. If we were cookie cutter friends how would our friendships grow stronger or stand the test of time? We are each individuals with our own special gifts, talents and purposes in life.

I can't speak for my friends but I can say for myself that I am always looking for ways to add wood to the fire. I can't imagine life without these people. I would never in a million years try to change who they are. Why would I want to do that when I love each of them for who God created them to be.

God is not done with us!!! I am being shaped and molded into the person that God wants me to be. I am so happy to have this crew in my life. We all share the wood. It's not just me adding some wood to keep the fire going. They are adding wood, too. When someone runs out of wood, someone else may add wood for them. It's give and take. It's not take, take, take...

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