Relationships are hard!
Whether as a parent, a spouse, a friend, a neighbor, or a co-worker, each of our roles in life demand enormous amounts of work, and there are so many ways to poison a relationship
Here are two things we all do which poison our relationships:
GossipWhen conflict comes up, many of us naturally default to talking about people instead of to people. It's so much easier to talk to someone else and vent. Unfortunately, gossip never solves conflicts. Best case scenario, you might spread a false rumor while gossiping and someone might correct your falsehood (Of course, it's not much of a positive if it requires you to be spreading lies mistakingly).
When we gossip, this is what we do:
- Gossip involves people in conflicts who aren't involved.
- Gossip spreads rumors which aren't true.
- Gossip escalates situations rather than resolving them.
- Gossip ruins reputations by spreading partial truths out of context.
- Gossip poisons other people's relationships.
If you want to start having healthier relationships, talk to people instead of about people. When someone wrongs you or disappoints you, go and talk to them. Most of the time, when you confront someone about a situation with compassion (not anger), it disarms the situation. Instead of you running stories through your head about how they might respond horribly, you start to resolve the situation with ACTUAL conversations.
When you choose to confront instead of choosing to gossip:
- You keep the conflict only between those who are involved.
- You stop yourself from LYING about someone if the allegations are false.
- You actively work to resolve the situation as opposed to escalating things.
- You preserve other peoples relationships.
MARRIAGE TIP: Be Very Careful About Venting to or About Your Spouse
My boss/pastor gave me some great advice about marriage and ministry: be very careful with what you share with your wife about what is going on behind the scenes in ministry. When you vent to your spouse about a co-worker, or anyone else when you're highly emotional, they see your emotional state and they hear your emotional explanation for it. What they don't see is the reconciliation process. They SEE the damage a conflict with someone else causes you, but they merely HEAR briefly that the issue is resolved. Your quick explanation that things are resolved can't outweigh what they saw before.
This is why it's a really bad idea to vent about your spouse to a friend or family. All they hear is why your spouse is awful. They don't see the positive or the reconciliation. If you commonly vent about your spouse to someone, don't be surprised when that person doesn't like your spouse; They don't know any better.
Proverbs 1821 The tongue has the power of life and death and those who love it will eat its fruit.Sometimes mistakes are made.
Sometimes they fail to meet your expectations.
As discussed before, when necessary, you need to choose to confront.
There's a difference between choosing to have hard conversations, and choosing to be critical.
- Do you nitpick every small mistake?
- Do you create a negative environment?
- Are you quick to offer criticism but slow to offer praise?
I know I struggle in this area. I'm quick to see and verbalize faults, but I'm slow to give unfiltered compliments. It's something I'm working on.
Instead Use Your Words to Speak Life
Virtually every relationship could benefit from more words of life. Whether compliments, affirmation, or gratitude, we need more words which bring life to people.
- What compliments are you thinking but not sharing?
- Where do you need to drastically increase your words of life?
MARRIAGE TIPAlways find a way to say something positive in each setting. Start your day with a compliment or gratitude. When each of you comes home after a long day at work, find something positive to say. Whatever you start with will shape your time together. Why not start with nutrients instead of toxins?