I never get to see my friends. I wish I knew how to talk to my teenager. My spouse and I are more like roommates. I don’t really know my brother/sister at all. I see the same faces at church/work every week, but I really don’t connect with anyone.
Ever run those statements through your head? I know I have. We all could benefit from deeper relationships. We all want to feel connected. You can! In just three short weeks you can have a better relationship with _________________ (you fill in the blank).
This week you will learn the most important thing it takes to have a better relationship with anyone – TIME.
You must spend time with someone to have a good relationship with them. Take a minute and think about the relationship(s) you want to improve. How much actual time are you spending with that person? Be honest. If it is not a significant amount each week, then you can be sure that your relationship will suffer.
Below are some PRACTICAL tips for improving relationships with different people.
This would seem like a no-brainer since you live together. However, just passing at breakfast, dinner or doctor’s appointments won’t cut it. Good marriages are made on purpose.
- Take a few minutes each day to hug and tell how your day went. Women talk a lot (I know ’cause I’m one of them). For the men: tell where you went to lunch and was it good, who is your favorite person at work, who drives you crazy, what projects are you working on, etc. Most married folks have this basic trivia down. Do it everyday, no cheating, for one week.
- Every night of the week, just before bedtime – Share something deep. Tell your spouse what scares you, what was your best Christmas, how do you feel about your parents, what do you want to be doing at 50 or 70, when were you most embarrassed, what do you want your spouse to help you accomplish. No judgment or problem-solving – just listen.
- Order pizza one night and leave the kids home. Go to a bowling alley, skating rink or walking trail. Do something physical without the kids. You can talk or not talk, just spend some time together. Can you remember holding hands?
- Sit TOGETHER at church, bible study. Share what you felt, liked, disliked.
- Be nice. Smile, open doors, say please and thank you. Every day.
This is so super easy! Every day for one week ask your child these questions:
1. Who is your best friend – this can change daily, weekly depending on the kid.
2. What is your favorite color? If you had to eat the same meal all week what would it be?
3. What is your favorite subject and why? What is the worse and why?
4. What do you think about God, the stars, angels?
5. What is your favorite song, singer, video, game, movie, sport?
6. Are girls/boys yucky, okay, calling you?
7. Do you know how much I love you?
This is the tricky part. After they answer, you have to share something about yourself, too. Example: Green is my favorite color all day everyday. Except one day, I saw the sun setting driving home and orange was my favorite color that day. You will be surprised what a little interaction can do. BEWARE: Teenagers especially hate this, but in three days you may learn more than you wanted to know.
If you have really small kids, just hang out with them. Watch a video, sing all the songs you can remember, play tag, hide and seek, they will love the extra attention.
PARENTS & SIBLINGS
Okay, trust me this works. Ask your parents the same questions you asked your kids! Just one day. Wow! Who knew that your mom played basketball in junior high school? You may just be amazed that your parents love to chat with their grown kids about nothing but stuff. You can also:
- Invite your parents to church
- Send them a different photo of your house, kids, spouse, dog every day (you can do this once a week, too)
- Read a book, article. Send it to your mom/dad. Discuss.
- Ask them about the time you first learned to drive, had chicken pox
- Ask them what they like to do.
And, just because you grew up in the same house or shared a bedroom with a sibling, you have different views of the same events. Share a story and ask them how they remember it.
CO-WORKERS & CHURCH MEMBERS
This will cost you a little money, but it will be worth it if you want to have a better relationship. Invite your co-worker to lunch everyday for one week. Let them know in advance and be sure you are being sincere.
This really should be a co-worker — someone of equal footing with you, not a boss or subordinate. Then, do what comes naturally. Talk, dish on the restaurants, listen and voilá! A better relationship is in the works.
For church members, Sunday dinner. Who can resist a free meal? Of course, you may decide to “go dutch” or invite them to your home.
- Read your Bible every day. Even if it’s one or two verses, see what God has to say about every day issues. Use a concordance and search by topics. What does God say about honesty, faithfulness, sin, marriage, children and worship?
- Talk to God every day about small decisions. Which way should you drive to work? How can you be nice to someone? Who can you call just to brighten their day?
- Say Thank-You. God wants a better relationship with you, too.