Fulfilling and lasting relationships don’t come easy. If they did, there would be a lot more of them around!
Often, people are looking for their relationships to be blessed. Sadly, the investments that are required to experience that blessing are often neglected.
There is a story of a man who was traveling through the hot desert wilderness. Soon he found himself in somewhat of a desperate situation as his canteens had been emptied and he was completely out of water. In the distance he noticed an old abandoned town and a glimmer of hope sprung up in his heart. Perhaps there is a well where he could draw some water. To his luck, in the center of town sat an old water pump that reached down into a well. He ran over and began frantically pumping the handle, but nothing happened. Not even a drop of water came out. Disappointed and discouraged, he looked around the area to see if there was anything that could help him with his thirst. Something then caught his eye. It was a jar of water with a note attached to it. The note said, “To the thirsty traveler: use this water to prime the pump of the well. If you do, you will have an unlimited supply to refill and be refreshed. Simply refill this jar after, for the next traveler.”
In that moment, the man was conflicted. He held in his hand the very thing that he wanted in that moment. It was there for his taking. But if he invested the water to prime the pump, he could have an unlimited supply. He wrestled back and forth on having the immediate satisfaction now, with no hope of more — or investing that water, to gain something much greater. He decided to make what he felt was a risky move and invest the water in the jar to prime the pump. As he began to pump the handle this time, there was a gurgling sound, then a few spurts of water and then to his amazement, fresh clean water began to flow from the pump! He drank until he was full and refreshed. He topped off all of his canteens for the remainder of his journey. And last but not least, he refilled the jar with the note on it, leaving it full for the next weary traveler.
This story illustrates an important truth when it comes to experiencing blessing in our relationships: we must be willing to invest.
It seems that there are way too many people who want to DRAW from what they are unwilling to INVEST in.
As a Jesus follower, I truly believe that the pathway to God’s blessing in our relationships is following His principles.[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]The pathway to God’s blessing in our relationships is following His principles.[/quote]
Navigating relationships can be a struggle. The good news is that for every struggle, GOD HAS A SOLUTION.
Here are 7 Investments for Romantic Relationships:
1) INVEST IN WHO YOU ARE BECOMING
Too often people are more concerned with LOOKING for the perfect person, instead of growing to become the person that their future spouse will need them to be. Philippians 1:6 is a reminder that God is still at work within us, shaping us to be the people that He desires us to be. If He isn’t done growing us and shaping us, we shouldn’t be done either.
2) INVEST IN COMMUNICATION
No relationship can be strong without good communication. Invest in this area. James 1:19 gives us a road map: Be QUICK to LISTEN, SLOW to SPEAK and SLOW to become ANGRY. Usually we do the opposite. We are SLOW to LISTEN, QUICK to SPEAK and our ANGER rises FAST. There is a reason that God gave us two ears and one mouth. Remember once words are out, they are impossible to get them back in (and many are still dealing with the pain of reckless words).
A simple tip that has been helpful for Amber and I: PUT THE ISSUE ON THE TABLE. Often in relationships we make “the issue” about the other person. Rather, try to work TOGETHER as a couple to tackle what the issue is, instead of attacking each other!
3) INVEST IN THE GOAL OF OUT-SERVING EACH OTHER
4) INVEST IN UNITY BY GIVING THE GRACE YOU WANT TO RECEIVE
Pride will always hinder unity. The moment we withhold grace, it is because we have lost sight of our own need of it. Jesus reminded us in Luke 6:38 about sowing and reaping. We can’t expect to get what we are unwilling to give. Give the grace that you want to receive. Trust me, at some point, you will need it! I’ve found in life that too often we want to be RIGHT, more than we want UNITY. I’ve experienced what is like to “win” an argument, and still lose.
5) INVEST IN GIVING LOVE AND RESPECT
If you have not read the book “Love and Respect” by It comes from the truth in Ephesians 5:33, that husbands should LOVE their wives, and wives should RESPECT their husbands.
6) BE WILLING TO WORK, NOT JUST WISH
There are too many people who just want to WISH their way to a better relationship, instead of investing and WORKING for it. No one ever stumbles in to a healthy relationship. Unity doesn’t happen on accident. It requires both people giving 100% effort. This is why we are reminded in Ecclesiastes 4:9 that TWO are better than ONE. To make your relationship thrive, it can’t be a 50/50 proposition. Fifty percent is always a failing grade. Both must be willing to give 100%.
7) JESUS MUST BE THE SOURCE OF YOUR IDENTITY AND SECURITY
Please don’t make the mistake of looking to a girlfriend, boyfriend, fiancé or spouse to give you ONLY what can be given by Christ. All too often people look to someone else to be the source of COMPLETING what is “missing” in their lives. That will never lead to health. We experience health in our relationships when we understand that everything I need to be complete, has already been given to me in Jesus (see Colossians 3:1-3). When I bring that mindset and paradigm into my relationships, I bring completeness to the equation.
Determine to make the investments that are necessary to experience the unlimited blessing that is available.
What are other investments that you would add to the list above? I’d love to hear your thoughts!