Relationships are funny things. We have so many different kinds of relationships: family, spouse, friend, sister, co-worker, niece, mom, dad, etc. All of them take work.
We have all heard that "relationships take work." That phrase is probably accepted as a universal truth. I agree that "relationships take work." I think somewhere along the line this phrase gets mistranslated. In my own mind, I have adopted the "relationships take work" truth and made it a justification for the expectations that I put on those around me. My thought pattern in relationships can go something like this: He should compliment more. She should come to my house. She should reciprocate, because I payed last time. They should appreciate me. He should know better. If she doesn't pursue the friendship, I'm letting her go. I just want him to listen. I just want her to share more. I can't believe they kept that from me. I told him he shouldn't do that. I don't respect that. Last time...
How can my thought life revolve around the work that OTHERS should do to maintain a relationship with me? The longer I live, the more I realize that selfishness is in my DNA. It consumes me, just as it does you. We can take perfectly good advice for promoting relationships and turn it into promoting self.
Yes, relationships take work. But let me add... from ME! I need to work at relationships! What should this thought pattern look like? The bible outlines it perfectly in 1 Corinthians 13:
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Wait you mean my relationship with ________ (fill in the blank) is not for them to jump through my hoops to please me? Nope... it isn't. Actually God's word clearly says the opposite.
If you don't love them as they are right now... you don't love them at all.
Lord, help me to love... like You do. I know relationships take work. Lord, help me to work ...like You do. May the excess of Your love in my life pour out in every relationship I have. In Jesus name, Amen.