Growing In Relationships

By: Jennifer Graham, M.S., IMH

The beginning of a relationship is very exciting, so many new things to discover, sweet things that are spoken; it’s really that honeymoon phase like other "well seasoned" folks say it is. Then, that time passes and you get to know the other person more, you still like them, are even crazy about them but some of those "highs" are not as they once were in the beginning of new things.

Consider other areas in life where you have had a similar reaction. Perhaps it’s something simpler like getting a new pair of pants that you love and are excited about. You consider what function you will wear these amazing pants to? Or maybe it is a new piece of technology, new car or new home. So exciting, so cutting edge, so new! Or it might even be a new church, new city and new people you are connecting with - and the experiences bring refreshment and perspective to life and this too is exciting. Regardless of the means of the experience, the "high" is usually evident on some level and it is good for it to be there and its part of the process. Enjoy it for what it is when it is in season!

The reality, however, is that we don't live in the “high,” and that’s how it ebbs and flows in life and it is not an altogether "bad" thing. Still, sometimes when those aspects fade, we attribute it to waning emotions for another. That occurs when we make the foundation of any relationship what we feel about another person. Are emotions a part of relationship? Most certainly, and are a wonderful dynamic to experience! However, there needs to be a constant and consistent thread that relationships are built upon.

Consider further that when the absence of the “high” comes into effect, it can grow us by not catering to our personal selfishness in placing a burden on another person to meet all your personal, emotional, mental, and physical needs. No other person will be ever able to completely satisfy us in such a manner! At this point we are reminded that we were created by God for His pleasure and that we ourselves are fully satisfied in God alone. The bottom line is that you are fully and completely loved by the Creator of the universe because of what Christ has accomplished on your behalf on the cross. We lack for no good thing.

Then we begin to see that God has provided this relationship for a purpose and it goes beyond just enjoying what relationship gives a person. The gift of relationship becomes an avenue of serving and caring for another person, the focus is not on us. We begin to ask ourselves, “What does Christ want to do in this other person’s life and what part do I play in that?” versus “What can I do to please myself? What is in this relationship for me?” And when two people are in an honest and selfless relationship with one another, not only looking to their own interests but the interests of the other, they are humbled and encouraged all at the same time. Relationships really are not rocket science; they are about serving another person in love.

As you grow and mature in relationship you come to realize that the “high” takes different forms throughout the many different seasons that relationships offer. Making decisions together, appreciating the differences and working together in the midst of differences, learning the interests of the other person and participating in them, asking good questions that allow you to always be learning something new about another person. But even beyond the experiences you come to realize that there is a person behind the fresh experiences and fun aspects that new relationships bring, because a relationship in a connection between two people and not the highs and experiences themselves, it’s another opportunity to serve and love another person to the glory of God. Christ wants to ignite within you the passionate desire to share His sacrificial love with a special person.

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