God desires the best for us in every area of our life. This includes our relationships. Our faith deeply impacts our relationships. When we decide to give our lives to Christ, it changes everything, including how we relate to others. When we commit ourselves to Christ that means that the people we choose to be around may change, especially if their values and actions don't align with our own. The Bible speaks volumes about relationships, godly interactions and principles that we can apply to our lives. This tool set can guide us in making decisions in our relationships that model our faith. The Bible reminds us that no matter what it is we're doing; it can be used as a means to glorify God (1 Corinthians 10:31). This includes the way we relate to the person we want to spend the rest of our life with. In addition to Scripture, there are certain questions you can ask yourself that can tell you a great deal about your relationship, including where things are headed and how you can transform it. Here are seven questions to strengthen your relationship.
Does my relationship reflect God’s definition of love?
Love is a core principal of Christianity. God is the perfect representation of love, as He gave His only Son for us. The most perfect love comes from God and it is always ours. This form of love is sacrificial and self-giving. True love is about putting the other person's needs before your own. If we desire this in our own relationships, it's important that we model this. Show Christ's love to each other by making sacrifices for each other. Put one another above yourselves. It's not only at the center of Christian marriage, it is who God is. When we demonstrate this form of love in our relationships, we love better.
Does my relationship reflect forgiveness?
Being able to forgive someone is an important part of Christianity. It should be in our nature as Christians to forgive those who "trespass against us", though this can be very hard to do. We are taught to forgive through Jesus' death on a cross. Christ died on the cross so our sins would be forgiving, while also asking His father to forgive those who tormented Him. We should remember this in our day-to-day situations. Though be willing to forgive can be very difficult, the Bible teaches us the best way to handle. A great example is Matthew 6:14: "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you." Because God has forgiven us, we too should forgive others. Relationships can stand or crumble depending on your choice to forgive, or not to forgive.
Does my relationship reflect faithfulness?
When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we receive the blessings of love, joy, peace and faithfulness through the gift of the Holy Spirit working through us (Galatians 5:22). Faithfulness is a principle that we can apply to our faith and our relationships. It impacts every relationship we are involved in. To be faithful is to be reliable, unwavering and steadfast. This principle is described in the Bible as an attribute of God, a characteristic that some exhibit and some lack. When the Bible speaks of God's faithfulness, we see how over and over again, when God says He will do something, He does it. Jesus modeled faithfulness in His promise to never leave us or forsake us. We model a similar faithfulness when it comes to our marriage vows. Remember, till death do us part? God loves us no matter what we do. Will you also choose to love and be faithful in your relationships, even when the chips are down?
Does my relationship reflect understanding?
Understanding is central to a strong, healthy relationship. It’s important to ask yourself if you are showing your partner understanding, especially when things break down. Proverbs 3:5-6 says "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." We should seek understanding in our relationships. Sometimes, our egos get in the way of understanding those who we love and care about. We often have a need to be right that makes what others think and feel so wrong for us. Empathy, for example holds many relationships together. It allows us to slow down and walk in the shoes of those we love. Understanding helps us center our relationship in Christ.
Does your relationship reflect joy?
Whatever you want from a relationship is up to you, but your partner should be someone who you feel adds value, meaning and joy to your relationship. Joy is what God desires for us in our relationships, not for us to be miserable. The Bible tells us that through the power of the Holy Spirit we have the opportunity to be filled with joy and peace so that we may be overflowed with hope (Romans 18:13). If we are experiencing anything less than joy in our relationships with others, you are dealing with the wrong people. Psalm 37:4 says "take delight in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart." Take delight in the LORD and blessings will flow, including blessings in our relationships.
Do you and your partner make excuses or refrain from them?
When a relationship is in trouble and individuals make a ton of excuses for those issues not only to others but themselves, they're only rationalizing why things are wrong, instead of making a real change to make the relationship better. The more excuses you make, the closer you're headed for disaster. For people that are dating or in a relationship, when communication isn’t at its best, it can be hard for the couple. Many times, people make excuses as to why they can’t connect with a person throughout their day, whether it’s via text message or on the telephone. Those are simply excuses, no matter how busy someone is. When someone wants to talk to you or connect with you, they do. No one is too busy to make a two minute phone call to say hello, check in or to simply say that they hope you’re having a great day.
Do you and your partner acknowledge issues that bother you?
Dropping hints and other passive-aggression are huge problems for many couples. Instead of stating a desire or thought overtly, you or your partner tries to nudge you in the right direction of figuring it out yourself. Instead of saying what’s actually upsetting you, you find small and petty ways to agitate your partner so you’ll then feel justified in complaining to them. This is problematic because it shows that you two are not comfortable communicating openly and clearly with one another. A person has no reason to be passive-aggressive if they feel safe expressing any anger or insecurity within the relationship. If an issue or habit is bothering you, it’s important that you address it, no matter how you think it will translate to the person you’re with. Something that may have started small will eventually grow into a real problem.
Are you ready to take your relationship to the next level with God's help? While the Bible doesn't give step by step "how to" instructions when it comes to dating, Scripture does provide timeless Christian principles that we can apply to our relationships today. These principles have the power to not only transform your dating relationships but also your marriages. When you're ready to apply these principles your relationship, your world will transform.