The Heart of Relationship: Love and the Elements

A couple in love sitting outside

The Christian worldview is set into motion in Genesis in the Bible as scripture paints a picture of how our world came into being.  It relays the creation story and describes how God chose to bring to life an earth that was empty, dark, and formless.  God shares how he spoke and brought together many elements to form and order our world.  He describes also how He created mankind in His own image to rule over His creation.  Genesis portrays a momentary pause for reflection as chapter one nears its conclusion: “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (Genesis 1:31, NIV).  In Genesis chapter two, God continued his creative work as He recognized that it is not good for man to be alone, creating companionship in his creation to meet this need.  This beautiful account of creation informs humanity of its origins, God’s views about it, and the purpose for which He made humankind: divine relationship.  

Relationship themes abound as scriptures found elsewhere in the Bible add depth to the human story: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him” (John 3:16).  Also, Acts chapter 17 reveals the fingerprints of God as it informs us that “…He himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else” (verse 25), and he chose to set forth appointed times and places so that humanity “would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.  For in him we live and move and have our being.  As some of the poets have said, We are his offspring” (v. 27-28).  Undoubtedly, the Bible points to a grand design of creation and fundamental to it is human relationship; to both the Creator, and to one another.  These Biblical references lay the groundwork for the profound nature of relationship and the inherent connection therein as foundational aspects of life and God’s plan.  

First John further teaches that “…God is love” (4:8), and First Corinthians (chapter 13) elaborates on the qualities of love, characterizing it as a force that is patient, kind, protective, humble, hopeful, and persistent.  In fact, love “never fails” (1 Corinthians, 13:8).  This is awesome to consider and adds even more depth to the quality of relationship and provides insight into God’s intentions for and participation in His creation.  These scriptures frame the foundation of existence laid by the Creator, and He has gifted humanity with volition as life confronts each of us with choices regarding relational engagement.  God invites us into relationship with him, and he provides us each the opportunity therein to take responsibility for ourselves in the context of our lives.  This, of course, is a process as we grow, mature, learn, and experience opportunities to be transformed.  Learning about and surrendering to God is a choice.  Further, God seeks to impact each of us and thereby our relationships through his divine love and through relationship with him.  Knowing Him changes us!  Altogether, these elements seem essential and inextricably intertwined!

A question that may be beneficial for believers to consider is: what can support me in my endeavor to relate to God, others, and even myself on this journey of life in this world?  This may prove to be a great question with fruitful conclusions!  It is empowering to consider that Christians may look to God for inspiration, to be equipped for life, and to be geared for success in relationship.  Challenges are inevitable, however, looking for guidance in scripture may prove to be a valuable endeavor.  For example, it may be worthwhile to commit scripture to memory, to spend time in Biblical reflection, to take time to journal about scripture reading, to share scriptures in the context of group study, and to consider the task of applying scriptures such as the following to daily life:

  • Psalm 19:14: “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
  • Romans 14: 19: “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.”
  • Colossians 4:6: “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
  • 2nd Timothy 3:16-17: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
  • Proverbs 18:21: “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
  • Proverbs 12:18: “The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:11: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up…” 

These are among a few examples of Biblical instruction that may serve as a resource for us for the journey of life and relationship.  The Bible is indeed a powerful and useful guide for Christians, and it is available to us as we are navigating life and the inherent challenges it holds.  This instruction manual, coupled with prayer and guidance from the Holy Spirit, may be truly transformational!

It may also be useful to consider how Biblical instruction can be coupled with the development of healthy relationship skills.  Such skills may serve to offer support as we develop and mature and are brought through the various seasons of life in the context of relationships.  Skills in relating to others may include learning about distinct types of communication, gaining insights about effective versus ineffective communication styles, building knowledge and a deepened understanding of communication enhancement.  Language, including body language, also has an impact on one’s ability to establish mutual understanding.  Furthermore, learning about techniques such as active listening and conflict resolution can serve to build a sense of connection, understanding and harmony relationally.  It can also be useful to learn about how needs, behaviors, thoughts, and emotions can all play a role in how we engage with one another.  Taking relational skill-building a step further, one can learn about healthy versus unhealthy boundaries, which can also prove to be instrumental in fostering both a healthy sense of self and establishing a healthy interdependence relationally.  It is worth noting that the skills of relating are learned and the application of such skills takes intention, effort, and practice.  Perfection need not be the goal provided that the relationship can benefit from an exchange that ends with understanding and support.  Mutual understanding has the power to foster knowledge, acceptance, and creative engagement.  Relationships are at the heart of humankind, and skills that serve to connect us and build a sense of trust, belonging, and affection can prove to be instrumental in establishing harmony and satisfaction.  Relating successfully serves humanity as it underlies health, wellness, and a positive dynamic which impacts relationships among family, friends, and within the community at large.

Another consideration is how to go about working toward building skills and engaging in self-development with the intention of improving relationships.  There are numerous resources and avenues that can be sought out for this purpose.  One of many options lies in seeking support in a therapeutic environment.  Watershed Counseling Center is available to you to support your relationship needs and concerns.  Our organization aspires to offer a safe and therapeutic space for families, couples, and individuals to explore problems and concerns, and to identify goals.  The therapeutic process may include activities such as self-development, self-discovery, skill-building, engaging in the application of concepts and skills, working to build insights and gain understanding, and working to achieve desired outcomes.  You are cordially invited to join us to experience our homestyle atmosphere where you will be able to explore your needs and concerns and engage in a therapeutic process aimed at accomplishing goals of your own.  Therapy is available for individuals who wish to work independently, and for loved ones together depending on needs and presenting concerns.