I am a husband, a father of five, and a grandfather of two, which means God has given me ample opportunities to learn about relationships—and one thing I have learned is that they aren’t easy. It takes work for a relationship to thrive. Every relationship has its ups and downs. Struggles are bound to occur. But I’ve also learned that all the work is worth it. And how best to do that work becomes clear when you know some important relationship truths.
Relationship truths are like a compass. They redirect us when we veer off course. When challenges pop up in a family, I’ve found that it’s always important to go back to the basics of what is true. Here are 6 basic truths about relationships that I’ve learned over the years.
1. We are fully designed and created for relationships.
This may seem really obvious, but we sometimes forget that life is not just all about “me.” When we get stuck on ourselves, we can lose perspective on this basic truth. Relationships thrive when people acknowledge, appreciate, and address one another’s needs.
2. Love is a basic need that is required for survival.
Food and water are basic needs. So is love. We were created to love and be loved. What is love? Love is not just a feeling; it’s a decision. Love is all about giving—giving selflessly and sacrificially to another person. Love is the foundation of intimacy in a marriage relationship.
3. Trust is the oxygen that keeps a relationship alive.
Without trust, a relationship dies—sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly. Trust breathes life and intimacy into a relationship. As I shared in Rebuilding Trust in a Relationship, for people to really trust you, they must have complete confidence that you will always speak the truth, that you are who you say you are, and that you will do what you say you’ll do. Trust takes a long time to build and only a short time to destroy. If you betray the trust of your spouse, child, or friend in words or deeds, you may find that it will take a long time to earn that trust back.
4. Relationships take a lot of watering and weed pulling.
You have to invest time and energy in your relationships to make them grow. And, at times, you need to look for the relational “weeds” that need to be pulled, like lies you believe about yourself or each other, or negative experiences and hurts that need to be healed. And just like some weeds that keep popping up in the same places, sometimes we need to go back to some old negative things to pull them out of our hearts and minds again to keep things clean and clear so good things can grow.
5. Every relationship experiences scrapes, burns, and scars.
If you forget to acknowledge this, you set yourself up for disappointment. Don’t expect perfection out of yourself, your spouse, your kids, or others. Give each other, and yourself, the freedom to fail and the freedom to forgive and be forgiven. And then try, try again.
6. Forgiveness unshackles and sets free.
When hurtful things are said or done, when frustrations are handled poorly, it can be hard to make things right again. If you mess up, ‘fess up. And if your spouse, child, or friend tries to apologize and make things right, look for the strength to really forgive him or her. Giving forgiveness is key. If you’re unable to forgive, you’re really hurting yourself. A forgiving heart is a heart free to be vulnerable, to love, and to be loved.
Here is a printable version of these 6 Relationship Truths About Family. Click on the image below to download a PDF.
What are some other truths about relationships? Share in a comment below.