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?