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Three Things That Hinder Relationships

“The way we see others determines the way we behave and relate to one another.” 

Trevor Hudson 

Relationships bring us the greatest joy, but they can also be the source of much heartache. I’m thankful that God teaches me the ways I’m hindering relational intimacy and shows me how I can improve those relationships. Here are three tips for Relationships 101. 

Last fall I heard a speaker say, “You can either have an agenda or you can connect, but you can’t have both.” Mic drop. When we have outcomes or expectations in a relationship, we not only set ourselves up for disappointment, but the other person isn’t free to be themselves. Conditional acceptance leads to feeling judged, the pressure to perform, and hiding their true selves, which never ushers in a healthy connection. The solution is to go into a relationship with open hands and unconditional acceptance, trusting the Father to bring about the relationship He desires. Encouraging others to be themselves is one of the greatest gifts you can give to someone else. 

If you protect yourself, you can’t connect. Self-protection sabotages connection. Trust is the foundation of all relationships with people as well as with God, but it cannot be built when we hide our true selves. Vulnerability in a relationship deepens trust. And when you’re transparent and humbly share from your heart then others have permission to do the same with you. The result is a closer relationship.


Lastly, don’t assume. Actor Henry Winkler wrote, “Assumptions are the termites of relationships.” The way out of this relational hindrance is to ask instead of assuming something is true. 

God’s word is full of wise instructions for relationships. “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2-3). My desire in a relationship is to seek to understand more than to be understood. I still have a long way to go and a lot to learn in the Relationships 101 class, but hopefully, these three tips will help me have closer relationships with those I love. 

“The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image.” 

Thomas Merton


Relevant Reflections: 

  1. What relationship do you desire to become closer to? 

  2. Which of these three relational hindrances is hurting the relationship? 

  3. What one thing is God asking you to do to help deepen the intimacy of that connection? 

Image by Alexa from Pixabay

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