Three Simple Steps to Reinvigorate a Relationship
Let’s face it, sometimes relationships get a bit tired. And like an old kitchen that’s perhaps seen it’s day, it’s time to refresh, renovate, reinvigorate that tired relationship.
Perhaps it’s a marriage. Maybe it’s a difficult colleague at work. Maybe it’s one of our kids … or our parents. Perhaps there’s tension – even open conflict. That’s all really sad, because relationships are important aren’t they?
And yet often we find ourselves in a relationship rut – that same old, same old, same old … What can we do to reinvigorate that run down relationship?
Well – here are three simple steps. They’ll work with anybody who matters to you. Try them, and I guarantee that they’ll put some spark back into that important relationship.
Are you ready?
Step 1 – Forgive
There are bumps and bruises in any relationship. Spend enough time with someone, and they’re going to hurt you (and vice versa). That shouldn’t be a surprise to any of us. Nobody’s perfect and ultimately, our imperfections, our rough edges are going to rub both ways. And that hurts.
But worse than the initial pain, is the deep pain of unforgiveness. So – is forgiveness really that important? Well God seems to think so. He sent His Son to die on a Cross so that you and I could be forgiven. It’s that big a deal.
And here’s the thing with forgiveness. It always costs us something to forgive. It cost Jesus His life. But once we really do forgive, the fresh air and sunlight that that lets into a relationship is truly amazing! The dark cloud that was hanging over us, robbing us … is gone.
Now importantly, forgiving isn’t forgetting. Sometimes it hurts so bad, that we simply can’t forget. Forgiving is letting go of our right for recompense, restitution, justice, an apology … even our right (as we see it) for revenge.
Here’s the way I figure it: God has already forgiven me so much, at such great price to Him – how can I possibly not forgive someone who’s hurt me? (Especially when the fruit of that forgiveness is healing and peace and joy!)
So, do you want to reinvigorate a relationship? Step 1 is … forgive.
Step 2 – Accept
This is kind of the flip side of the forgiveness coin.
We’re all different and 99.9% of conflict happens when we let other people’s differences rub us the wrong way.
I’m a type-A, outcome oriented, highly focussed individual. I think quickly, I move quickly. Sometimes it seems like the rest of the world is moving in slo-mo. People come to me not for me to make them feel good with my overwhelming compassion, they come to me when they need to crash through a brick wall. That’s my shtick in life. My beautiful daughter on the other hand, is a gentle, relationship oriented person. She loves having fun. She cares so deeply for others – even when our cat (!) has a small scratch on its face.
Do you see how those two personality types could rub each other the wrong way? Big time!
But the moment we accept that the next person is – and what’s more always will be – different to us, we can enjoy the incredible gifts that they have, and make up in those areas where they’re not as strong as us. Imagine, just imagine, if every relationship was like that.
Wouldn’t life be fun?
Step 3 – Be Creative
This is where the fun really begins. We each have a creative streak. Me – I love cooking. I enjoy writing. Problem is, when we’re stuck in a rut, when we’re working long hours, not eating well … tired, bored … we veg out in front of the TV at night.
Now there’s a recipe for a whole bunch of relationships that need reinvigorating. Do you think? (How easy it is to blame everyone else).
I’ve been working some really long hours recently, and I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed cooking. So, I decided to exercise that creative streak at least a few times a week – especially on weekends. You know what it says to my wife?
I love you. Here, let me serve you. Enjoy this.
How’s she responded? Well she’s doing exactly the same (we had just the best home-made beef & mushroom thingies last night for dinner!) And her response says exactly the same back to me.
Great healthy food. And the joy out of doing something so simple, yet so creative, for one another. How good is that?!
So what if you sat down and for your top 3 relationships, you wrote down just one thing you could do to exercise your creativity this week? What if you wrote down a few things? What if you applied your creative heart and mind, to serving the other person?
Would that reinvigorate the relationship? Ya think?
What do you suggest one do about a person who can never ever say he is “sorry” for anything? I have known him for 52yrs now, and have never heard him seriously say he is ‘sorry’ and there have been many occasions when heartfelt sorry would have been easier for me to forgive and put it behind me, but, find it very difficult to forget all those occasions of no sorrow in him.
so sorry to take a while to reply. Your post slipped through the cracks with all that I’ve had going on these past few weeks.
Unforgiveness is a big issue – a huge issue. It comes from a hardness of heart and the problem with a heard heart is that you an I don’t have the ability in and of ourselves to break through.
But the Lord does.
Have a read of 2 Cor 10:3-5 – it speaks of the weapons that we have to tear down stronghold – a stronghold being something that sets itself up in us against the knowledge of God.
The single most powerful thing that you can do is to pray for him. That is your divine weapon. Just keep praying. God is hearing you and just at the right tie He will act.
And secondly, keep forgiving. Yep it’s hard. Very hard some days. Just keep forgiving because if you have unforgiveness in your heart, it’ll ruin you. And the thing that will make it easier for you to forgive, is when you pray for him.
The Lord will change your heart to.
Be blessed as you see the power of God move through your prayer.
Thank you ever so much, I had given up on anyone replying to that question, thinking it was a little late for any answers in that subject.
I will certainly do as you suggest Berni,
but think I have just learnt to accept that he never will change in that regard, there is a lot of disrespect on my behalf and distrust, that has traveled through life with me, even to this day. I have forgiven him in my heart. But it all still pops up to batter me in thought, which i think? is the enemy, causing my feelings and emotions to get nasty, because I am not a nasty type of person at all.
I liked the point that forgiveness is not forgetting but relinquishing our right to recompense – I feel that’s important and not always understood. Often we can’t actually forget a wrong done to us but we can choose not to demand compensation and thereby release the other person and ourselves.
Berni, thanks for the thought – we need to be reminded of these truths to remember to do them. I am really interested in forgiveness and acceptance (they are very related). I need to remind myself to sometimes not only to accept what I consider to be shortcomings in others but also in myself (guess what I am not perfect). But it gets me thinking that there is a lot of grey between forgiveness and acceptance in our human terms but whilst God can forgive us our sins he does not accpet them.
Mal – I tend to think of acceptance as forgiving people in advance. Often I know when I’m dealing with someone that just rubs me the wrong way that, guess what, this time (again) they’re going to rub me the wrong way. So I just forgive them in advance. Works wonders. 🙂
P.S. Of course I’m glad I never rub people the wrong way! LOL
Great stuff, Bernie!
have a look at Ezekial chapter 28 a description of Satan and what happened to Him
Our sin is the only way Satan can hurt The Most High God makes you very aware of our sin in thought word and deed.Do we want to hurt God?
well said Berni, and well timed for me to read same
“Forgiving is letting go of our right for recompense, restitution, justice, and apology … even our right (as we see it) for revenge”. Even if we are 100% in the right! I heard a Focus on the Family program many many years ago on this very topic, right in the middle of a very dark period in my life and it spoke volumes to me. I find this powerful too, Jesus on the cross, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing”, Luke 23 verse 34. Thank you Berni for the challenge. Cooking is not my thing, it will be something different!
Yep Steve. You’re right. That’s the crux of the matter – even when you’re right and they’re wrong. It’s so hard but that’s exactly what forgiveness is.