Healthy Home = Healthy Life

Why do I spend my time discovering relationship principles? Well that’s easy, I want the best relationships this life can offer. 

Additionally, studies show that the healthier your home life is, the healthier the rest of your life will be.  I hope you are challenged to refocus your priorities and add in time for personal and relational development.  Think about it, when it comes to your time where does it go? Do you spend it, waste it awn or invest it into your future? Of the following examples, one lives in the moment and one invests in the future?

  • Does it benefit you more to watch a TV show or read a chapter on an important subject?
  • Do you think you would be better off watching silly You Tube videos or value packed You Tube videos. (Yes, they exist)
  • Should you set up your Facebook feed to show foolishness or inspirational posts?
  • Are you better off staying home for the evening or attending a local course?
  • Spend money on a concert or a conference?
  • Listening to music while you drive or a podcast?

Every decision you make is either bringing you close or farther from your goal. Of course if you don’t identify your goal you won’t know what decisions to make to bring you closer. Is your family and personal development a priority for you?

Invest Before You Spend

I’m not saying to never entertain yourself. I can’t say that, I do these things myself. But not before I invest into my mind, heart and relationships. Sadly, many people live for entertainment while the rest of their lifers.  Entertainment should be your reward after investing.

Want some Jim Rohn wisdom? He’ll gladly add..

“Work hard at your job and you’ll make a living, work hard on yourself and you will make you a life.”

“Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems or less challenges, wish for more wisdom.”

Do you want to merely make a living or do you want to make a life? How important are your relationships? How important is your peace, joy and personal fulfillment?  How much time do you spend vs how much time do you invest?  Have you been spending too much -wasting- while investing very little, if at all?

Why not do some investing right now.

Nugget, Nugget, Nugget

Relationship Rule #3 encouraged you to speak up against injustice, not to let issues go undone and to deal with concerns as they arise.  Rule #4 mentioned not to address issues when anger is flying because no one is in the right state of mind to hear the heart of the matter.

What I didn’t mention yet is …

Relationship Rule #9: Address one issue at a time, for a period of time.

When you do discuss important issues, show restraint and only cover one concern at a time. You may also want to set a limit on the conversation, don’t expect someone to endlessly discuss topics of tension. One person will be more sensitive to this than the other so respect that.

This was certainly something I found myself guilty of. I wanted to lay everything on the table all in one shot.  I mean, why not get it over with? After all it’s not every day I get long periods of undivided attention? But… what I’ve learned (ahem, I mean am learning) is that we get more accomplished when stay on topic and have focused discussion. Take practise but it’s doable.

A Lesson From Improv

Have you ever watched Improv? So funny.  Remember Whose Line Is It Anyway… any others hands up on that?

Apparently there are improv rules.  One popped into my memory as I write an it happens to work as a relationship rule. (Go figure) It goes like this. “Denial destroys or stops the addition of new information or worse negates what has already been established.”  Unfortunately, I can’t take credit for that, it came straight off of pantheatre.com.

Take a sec and re-read that. Who am I kidding who goes back to re-read? I’ll re-state. “Denial destroys or stops the addition of new information or worse negates what has already been established.”  

Relationship Rule #10 is: If they say it’s so, it is. 

Many people will squirm at this, #10 is difficult to accept (I speak from experience).

Negative Emotions Are Blind

Negative emotions are often blind, they deceive and you won’t see them as they are.  Someone may say you are treating them disrespectfully but you don’t think so. Someone thinks you are angry but you don’t feel it.

What emotions are you denying? What information are you wanting to cancel out?

  • Is someone feeling unimportant? Do they feel a cell takes higher priority than them?
  • Does someone feel insignificant when you go behind their back to make important decisions?
  • Is friendliness interpreted as being flirty?
  • Does a cold shoulder make you feel invisible?
  • Do they feel work comes before the relationship?

What are they experiencing? How do they interpret your actions, behaviour or emotions? How are you interpreting theirs?

My Experience

Should I share one of my stories?  Hope ya’ll don’t mind me gettin’ a bit personal now. (Thought I’d add some southern flare since I’ve been hanging out down south lately)

Amongst the hustle and bustle of life, especially on busier days my mind is focused on productivity.  During these times my family would ask what is bothering me.  Nothing was. I apparently sounded upset, so naturally some thought I was.  I did not like this!  I did not like how I was coming across.  Not at all.

I wanted my family to see me as a fun, happy person to be around. I didn’t want them to perceive me as upset or angry.  I didn’t feel angry or upset so it troubled me that I was coming cross this way. Learning their perspective was huge motivation for growth. I made considerable effort towards changing the tone of my voice and the expression on my face so I could appear as pleasant as I felt.

What’s interesting is, as I changed the rest of the family did as well.  Where mom goes the family follows. As I improved my disposition, the family atmosphere shifted and things were overall more pleasant.  I did not realize the influence I had in this area.  I am still changing, still growing and so is my family.  Together we are improving and we hold one another accountable in this area. It’s beautiful to watch and rewarding to experience.

Get Another Opinion

How someone experiences you is their truth and they have a right to their truth. If you care about them (which you do or you wouldn’t be in the relationship) then consider how your actions and behaviours are affecting them. Bring in another opinion if you must, like a relative or friend. Grant this person permission to tell you how it REALLY is and use this as an opportunity for personal growth.

Get two people staring at your blind spot and let them tell you where this is. 

  • Honest wounds from a friend is better than a kiss from an enemy. Proverbs 27:6
  • Correct a wise man and he will love you for it. Proverbs 9:8

What should you do if a person refuses to accept unhealthy behaviour patterns? What should you do if you try and try and still cannot agree?

Seek council.

Relationship Rule #11: When waging war, seek guidance. 

Dealign with Dirty Laundry is Necessary

Airing your dirty laundry to another individual is never comfortable. This isn’t something many people are excited to jump into but may be necessary to getting over that stubborn relationship hurdle.

Do yourself a favour and stop keeping your relationship concerns hidden. Connect with a counsellor, pastor or even just a trusted friend, family or wise advisor. Who do you know who has a strong relationship? You would be surprised how responsive they may just be if you approach them for guidance.

  • With many advisors plans will succeed. Proverbs 15:22
  • In the abundance of councillors there is victory. Proverbs 11:14
  • If you are going to war, make sure you seek guidance. Proverbs 20:18

Often we cannot see what we cannot see. We try to fix situations from our viewpoint while the other is looking from a different perspective. A councillor can bring incredibly stability to a situation while breathing wisdom into the relationship.

Is Ugly Hidden Or Revealed?

Relationship Rule #11: Make sure your beliefs and values are clearly stated.  

Many people get into a relationship for all the wrong reasons which is why so many relationships fail. Maybe are emotionally moved and overtaken by these sudden desires. This is a beautiful God-given emotion and one to enjoy on this journey but we must not throw away wisdom and counsel to make an emotionally charged decision, that would be foolish.

Most people fall in love because of how someone else makes them feel. Suddenly they experience a sense of feeling important, valued, needed, cherished, desired or attractive.  We are naturally drawn to people who make us feel good about ourselves.  In fact, you could be manipulated, lied to, fooled and still experience euphoric emotions for someone. This does not mean a relationship is healthy, or that a relationship should be built at all.

Maybe you fell in love because you became infatuated. This doesn’t always have to do with looks, it could be their personality and charm. Maybe you love how they make you feel or you love who you are when you’re around them.  This is all fine and dandy but it’s superficial, you don’t have enough information to decide whether you should spend the rest of your life with them.

What is Under the Mask?

Think about this. If two strangers went out for coffee they would both have their game face on. They would be aware of their words and actions, show manners, tell jokes and display a side of them they feel will make the other person like them. They may succeed at drawing the other person in, but this is only one side of that individual, their best side. It would be silly to create a relationship with someone predominantly for these reasons.

There are a lot of things to take into consideration when determining whether this individual is someone you want to spend the rest of you life with but nothing is more important than making sure your morals, values and beliefs jive.

If two people are vastly different in what they believe and value then they are headed for heartache. Sadly, many couples find themselves here today. They get together because they are drawn into someones personality and fall in love with how this individual makes them feel.

Truthfully, many people fall in love for selfish reasons and the deeper, more important issues of a relationship aren’t looked at or discussed. Out of all the important things a couple should be doing before marriage there is one that trumps them all. Identifying their inner values and beliefs.

Which Path Are They On?

Our inner values and beliefs drive all of our actions and decisions.  When we identify what one values, we are also identifying their boundaries. Almost all relationship difficulties arise because couples have differences in this area. 

Think about it like two paths. One path leads to one city, the other path leads to another city. If you are “doing life” with someone you are doing so with the intention of going in the same direction. If the two of you are heading in different directions then you will constantly be pulling on them to “go somewhere” they don’t want to go.

This can pose incredible difficulty in a marriage. It’s imperative for you two to get on the same page if you want relationship harmony. That doesn’t mean you share the same hobbies and do everything together, but rather your values, goals and beliefs are the same.

This or That

  • One wants to run things one way the other wants to do it another way.
  • One believes in this, the other believes in that.
  • One has television boundaries, the other has none.
  • One speaks words around the kids that the other doesn’t approve of.

These become BIG deals inside a relationship.  Let’s not forget their beliefs on managing relationship disputes.

  • One thinks yelling during conflict is normal, the other wants to learn heathy communication.
  • One wants to invest into the relationships the other has no interest in growing and improving.
  • One of them thinks the other should bend to their lifestyle, the other feels their desires,  thoughts and feelings are constantly getting denied.

These are vitally important issues to discuss.

As you look over my relationship rules consider how different you two are in handling conflict. What do you find acceptable? What do you identify as non negotiable? What lines will you place in the sand that you agree you will not cross?

Agreeing on these relationship rules will set you on a new course and as you work towards mastery in these areas it will prevent bitterness and resentment in the relationship.

Hoards of Value

I hope you see the value of investing into your future instead of spending all the time you’ve got.  Turn off the TV and turn on a podcast. Put down the phone and pic up a book. Be mindful how your actions are affecting your future and stop filling your life with mindless activities.  Don’t feel the need to read a whole book in one sitting (as some look at it).  Start with one page a day and stick with it. A little seed produces an impressive harvest, try it with your relationships.

Make a point to address the difficult issues but set limits on how long you’ll discuss these. If your actions are affecting their feelings, validate them. Do what I did and use this knowledge to motivate you towards growth. Don’t deny their experience with you, be mindful of their opinion.

If you’ve followed these relationship rules to the best of your ability and still have not seen the progress you desire it’s time to air your dirty laundry to a wise, trusted advisor. Find someone who will reveal your blind spots and speak truth into your life. Additional accountability may be what’s required to initiate and motivate change.

If you are a brave soul I’d love to hear which nugget you found most valuable. Please post in the comments below.