Healthy Christian Relationship Advice for Family, Friends and Lovers
Friends and Couples
Everyone was created to be in harmonious relationship with God, self, and others as stated in Matthew 22:37-39, “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” Getting to know our Creator and His guidelines is a prerequisite to knowing and loving ourselves, and having the ability to demonstrate that love to others. This article gives some insight and instruction concerning Christian relationships between friends, couples, husbands and wives, and parents and children.
Relationships between friends or romantically involved men and women can lead to emotional discord when a person does not have positive self-esteem or a sense of completeness without a desperate need of being in a relationship to feel whole or valued. It is crucial to be satisfied in your singleness and individuality in order to experience healthy, happy relationships with yourself and others.
In premarital relationships between a man and woman, God cautions us to flee from sexual immorality because sexual sins are sins against the body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 6:18-19). Engaging in sex before marriage dishonors God and intensifies emotions and hormones before many individuals are mature enough to manage them well. Time is better spent learning about each other and developing a strong foundation of friendship that will endure the challenges of life.
Husbands and Wives
In the beginning, God designed a special and unique relationship between man and woman, as husband and wife, to be united as one (Genesis 2:24). This relationship is a commitment that holds responsibilities for both individuals involved.
The instruction to the husband is to love his wife as he loves himself, with the understanding that no one ever hated his own body, but feeds and cares for it. Now God, in His divine wisdom, knew that not everyone would show love in the same way, so He elaborated on the concept to help make it plain. He further instructed that the husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church and sacrificed himself for her.
Likewise, the instruction to the wife is to respect her husband and submit to him as to the Lord. And for those of us who only submit up to a certain point, the wife is further instructed to submit to her husband in everything, as the church submits to Christ (Ephesians 5:22-33). I for one, as well as some wives I’m sure, can attest to the fact that submission is a hard act to follow, which is probably why God specified these instructions in conjunction with His standard of Christ.
When we learn to base our understanding of relating to each other on God’s instructions and exemplify the love set forth in His word, we can find that the concepts of LOVE, RESPECT, and SUBMISSION are not hated tasks and punishments handed down by God. Instead, they can be privileges and pleasures to be honored within the sanctity of the marriage commitment.
Parents and Children
In addition to the marriage relationship, God extended his design to include the experience of parenthood. This relationship also contains responsibilities and instructions. Parents, children are unique individuals especially loved by God. Be mindful that God chose to reveal to little children what He hid from the wise and learned (Matthew 11:25). Jesus stated that we must become as little children to enter into the kingdom of heaven (Mark 10:15). He also said that to welcome a child in His name is to welcome Him (Mark 9:37).
If Christ put such emphasis on our children, what does that say to parents? Be less quick to forget your youthful days and be more understanding, open and reasonable when your children don’t seem to measure up to your expectations. More willingness to be humble and relate on their level of understanding is warranted in order to make it into the kingdom.
Set an example of a Christlike relationship before your children. Do not provoke them to anger with the use of authority. Instead, teach them as you have been instructed by God (Ephesians 6:4). Encourage them and build up their self-esteem, support them emotionally and be open to discuss the realities of life.
Likewise children, honor and obey your parents in everything, listening to their instruction and teaching because this is what God intended (Ephesians 6:1-2). If they are doing God’s will, then their instruction will be a reflective safeguard against those pitfalls laying in wait for you to stumble into (Proverbs 1:8-19).
God has given you the children and the parents that you have. There are no trade-ins. Be obedient to God’s instruction and His will for the relationships that you are placed in. He will strengthen you and restore you. Be encouraged as you submit to one another, in your respective relationships, and God will lift you up himself in due time. He that has ears let him hear!
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Jo Anne Meekins