Here again, we're not simply talking about marital relationship but all relationships. In order to make relationships work, we must first recognize the value of them.
A useful exercise is to write down all the relationships you have: your family ones, your work ones, your friends and neighbors, and so on. Take a moment to reflect on each of these. Do some automatically bring a smile to your face? When was the last time you told this person how you feel about them? Appreciating others is important to nurture relationships. Do some leave you indifferent or bring a frown to your face? Whatever your reaction, don't judge yourself, just continue to reflect. Perhaps some of these relationships are troubling, and others fulfilling. If some have trouble spots, identify what those may be. These may be areas for work. Others may bring so much joy that you may realize you want to devote more time to them...and less to the non-fulfilling ones. But this process of reflection on our relationships is the first step to making them work for us.
We make relationships work through:
- Humility – or, acceptance of our own flaws
These are not always easy things to do. Sometimes to work on one relationship, we need to enlist the aid of another. When we struggle with our teen's behavior or attitude, it can be very helpful to talk with our own parents or a trusted friend. These other relationships can yield support and a new perspective that in turn helps us to improve the relationship that is under stress.
At other times, it is important to seek the help of an objective, experienced professional. A Farm First counselor can be ideal for this, providing a confidential sounding board and a source of ideas and strategies for strengthening a valued relationship, or for examining whether a hurtful relationship is causing too much suffering.