The Good—Part 1
Many years ago an elderly saint told me that life is about relationships. I thought that odd while in my 30’s and couldn’t imagine why relationships were of such great significance. But with an onset of maturity and age, it is much easier to understand why relationships are so important. As a psychologist, I help people unravel the chaos of dysfunctional, miserable, abusive, and unfortunate circumstances surrounding relationships. I would like to take a few minutes to discuss what constitutes good, bad and ugly relationships.
We all long for good relationships and the benefits whereof, but few people seem to have what it takes to make relationships work. Good relationships are established on:
- effort and time commitment
- and the ability to let go of hurts and resentments.
Good relationships require you to go the extra mile and love your friend or relative enough to keep pressing in honest conversation and heart-felt communication. It takes effort by both parties for relationships to work. A one-sided relationship is always dysfunctional.
My sister is a marvelous, godly woman with whom I have a wonderful relationship, but that has not always been the case. Here is brief history about the evolution of our great relationship.
- I am twelve years older than my sister.
- By the time she was in pre-school, I was in college.
- We lived in two different worlds with two different sets of parents although they were the same people.
- I grew up with a dad who had just returned home from World War II, survived the Great Depression, his father died young leaving him with five younger brothers and sisters and a mother to support. Life for “my” family was not easy.
- I was and am a Baby Boomer.
- My sister grew up in a totally different family in a totally different generation. Life was never easy for “my” family, but life was much better for our family after my sister was born.
- I never knew my sister. Life was all about me when I was a teenager when she came along, and I made little effort to love and get to know her.
- Then I left for college “never knowing” my sister. Can any of you relate?
It took my divorce and her divorce before “life” brought us face to face with the need for a relationship—a good relationship. Being the older sister I felt it was my responsibility to make every effort to try and establish a good relationship with my sister. We have pressed through for the past twenty years and have come to the place of a mutually satisfying and genuine friendship and sister relationship. Here are some steps you can take to create mutually satisfying relationships:
- Make a decision the relationship is worth your effort.
- Start with open communication about where you have been and where you are now in the relationship.
- Make spending time together a priority, and REALLY GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER.
- Forgive each other for hurts and wounds and invest in a great relationship for your future.
I would enjoy hearing about your good relationships and what was necessary to achieve those relationships. What is necessary to create good, healthy relationships?