A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones. – Proverbs 22:17
I can still hear the four words ringing in my ear “every relationship is different,” as I work to understand the dynamics of the various relationships I must engage in and nurture daily. I use the word work because even though I have known that relationships require work, I am learning more and more the truth of the reality of the word “work” in relationships as I mature naturally and spiritually.
When most people hear the word relationship, the mind normally skips pass relationship types such as, family relationships, work relationships, same gender or opposite gender platonic relationships and moves directly to the male – female more than friend’s/romantic relationship. However, the relationships our mind skips are just as important and sometimes even more important, depending on the stage of life, than the male – female more than friend’s/romantic relationship because those relationships help shape our male – female romantic relationships interactions. The relationships we sometimes skip over are foundational, building blocks that if nurtured correctly enable us to learn how to properly communicate and grow into healthy and whole individuals. They help us lose selfish tendencies which most often are the reason why our adult relationships are strained and unhealthy.
The Mayo Clinic suggests that “good friends are good for your health. Friends can help you celebrate good times and provide support during bad times. Friends prevent loneliness and give you a chance to offer needed companionship, too. Friends can also:
- Increase your sense of belonging and purpose
- Boost your happiness
- Reduce stress
- Improve your self-worth
- Help you cope with traumas, such as divorce, serious illness, job loss or the death of a loved one
- Encourage you to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as excessive drinking or lack of exercise
I wonder if a lack of well established friendships is the reason why the covenant of marriage, that should be a lasting commitment for a life time, has become a temporary rest stop post for many. Could this be the reason why when the going gets a little tough that the not so tough cry irreconcilable differences and run to be rescued by the bail out of divorce? Is it possible that every relationship that ends does not end necessarily because the relationship did not have the potential to succeed but more so it ends because the individuals in the relationship refused to become whole and healthy individually so that they can be whole and healthy together? Therefore, after leaving one lover, over time, even though they find new love, if they do not face the man in the mirror, the same toxic waste that caused the prior relationship to end is simply carried to a new dumping ground.
Those four wonderful words, “every relationship is different,” were spoken by my mentor, Dr. K. as she shared with me why it is difficult for couples to compare good relations simply by measuring what they see neighboring couples experiencing with one another. While theses four words were spoken to me regarding the male – female more than friend’s/romantic relationship, I have found them to be true regarding all types of relationships. Thus, this leads me to believe while there may be some key practical components for healthy relationships; the main element that must be constant and unchangeable is placing God as the head and Christ in the center. This positioning allows God to keep Christ’s cleansing blood flowing from one heart to the other flushing out impurities that find their way into the couple’s heart.
When one heart is on the left side, the other heart is on the right side and Christ is in the center, relationships healthiness increases dramatically. The bible says the psalmist David enquired of the Lord to create in him a clean heart so he could worship Him, Psalm 51:10. If we need a clean heart to worship a pure, loving and holy God, how much more do we need God to purify and clean our hearts to be in healthy relationship with others, especially our mates, who at times can be anything other than pure, loving and holy? So what about healthy relationships? Are they achievable and can they be maintained? I believe the answer is yes when we as individuals remember not to look for the right person but to consistently yield to be process of being and becoming the right person.
I love the way the Spirit moves. While I felt the Spirit leading me to write about the importance of God and having God’s heart to achieve healthy relationships, I received a daily devotional that confirmed that exact thought. Therefore, reflecting on an article I read in Charisma Magazine regarding how crucial it is to study the heart of God if we want to have healthy families and careers. I would like to provide some tips I gleaned from what I read.
A Foundation for Healthy Relationships (based on Loving God Day 217, Charisma Magazine Daily Devotional)
- Become blessed and happy: We must develop/nurture an overflowing heart through studying, receiving and observing the happy God we see in the Word, this will lead to our being blessed and filled with happiness. When the Bible uses the word blessed the word is amplified to the meanings of (Happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable).
- Understanding God responsibilities: Doing God ordained responsibilities with the right spirit. When we conduct our responsibilities with the Fruit of the Spirit instead of negative spirits not only are we blessed but those who experience our presence are also blessed.
- Cleansing: We must cry out to God in prayer and ask him to cleanse us of negative spirits such as depression, heaviness, anger, bitterness, envy, jealousy, and pride to name a few.
- Be filled: We must be filled with the attributes of God by joining our heart to the heart of God so that His heart connects to ours, allowing His attributes of happiness and power to flow freely in and through us.
Being in this state of happiness reminds me of the comedian Marcus D. Wiley who ministered at my Pastor’s Anniversary concert. One of the jokes he told was about the “Happy Church.” It was really quite comical as I watched him demonstrate an exaggerated state of being a Happy Christian engaged in ministry in a happy manner. However, while his routine was meant to be comical, the reality of his message remains truth. Though happiness is a temporary feeling, as all feelings are, we as Christians should always set an atmosphere of joy. That joy alone brings about happiness. To have a happy atmosphere, we need happy people engaged in and embracing happy interactions. For many may know and have experienced as the old saying goes, misery loves company. So if anyone in the atmosphere is miserable, it is often natural for that person to seek companionship and this is done by making another person miserable.
I am hoping this will get us off to a good start as we move through this series of finding our way to healthy relationships and ultimately to lasting marriages. Be sure to look for part II next month.
1. Friendships: Enrich your life and improve your health. Mayo Clinic.
2. Bickle, B. Loving God. www.charismamagazine.com.