Here are 10 simple, but guaranteed to work relationship “moves” from God himself (1 Corinthians 13:4-6) that will strengthen your relationships.
1. Be patient - People aren’t perfect (and guess what, neither are you!). They’ll make mistakes, they’ll hurt you, they’ll set you off. Patience means being “long tempered” instead of “short tempered”. It means refusing to get angry or retaliate when you’ve been wronged. It means enduring through hard times instead of running away.
2. Be kind - It’s common sense but unfortunately not common behavior. People are just downright mean to each other. They may pass it off as humor or teasing, but in reality it’s unkind. It doesn’t take long for a joke to turn insulting, sarcasm to turn nasty, or for a snide comment under your breath to turn malicious. Play it safe with your words and just be kind. And when in doubt, do the kinder thing.
3. Be happy for them - The word in 1 Corinthians that Paul warns us about literally means “boiling with envy or jealousy”. It could be a spouse who makes more money than you, seems to work less hard than you, or who always seems to have things going their way. It could mean a friend who everything seems to go right for consistently. It could be a family member who seems to have the perfect life. Boiling envy ravages relationships faster than most things. Instead, be happy for your loved ones’ successes and accomplishments, not jealous of them.
4. Be humble - Don’t seek to be the center of attention. Don’t seek to make everything about yourself. Real love in any relationship is humble, modest, and meek. Humble people don’t think less of themselves, they think of themselves less. Think of yourself less, think of others more.
5. Be respectable - In 1 Corinthians, Paul actually uses the word rude, which means “unbecoming, or unseemly”. How easy it is to be rude and crude to one another. How quickly we depart from improper and indecent behavior in our relationships. Healthy relationships buck that trend and are defined by people living respectably and becomingly.
6. Be selfless & considerate - Don’t insist on your own way. Don’t demand that people adhere to your wants. Instead, put their wants ahead of yours. Consider their thoughts, their feelings, their ideas, their desires, and act accordingly.
7. Be cheerful and pleasant - Don’t be irritable, easily annoyed, or downright crabby. Seek always to stay in a good state of mind and good state of behavior. Be cheerful and pleasant, even when it’s the last thing in the world you want to be. Your relationships will be better for it.
8. Be impossible to provoke to anger - I knew a kid in high school that was impossible to provoke. He was always level-headed, always in control, and never displayed anger. As annoying as it was then, I wish I was more like him. This one will go as far as anything on this list toward healthier relationships - be impossible to provoke to anger.
9. Be forgiving - Do you have a vault? Do you keep records of all wrongdoing against you? People with vaults tend to be people with unhealthy relationships. They hold all past wrongs against someone. Don’t be like that! Empty the vault and let go of past hurts and past wrongs. Instead, be forgiving. When someone genuinely expresses sorrow over their wrongs, forgive them immediately and permanently.
10. Be intolerant of evil - Too many relationships are encumbered by evil of various kinds. God calls it “sin” or unrighteousness. Don't allow wrongdoing or evil in your relationships. As hard as the things on this list may be, this one may be the hardest. True love seeks to root out the bad and plant the good in the lives of our loved ones. If we really love someone, we won’t rejoice in or tolerate their sin, we’ll do the most loving thing possible and seek to help them combat and destroy it. We could all stand to love like this a little more in our relationships. Don’t angrily call someone out in hostility (that would violate the things on this list). Instead, lovingly help them see and work through their faults. And if you do so while embodying the other 9 things on this list, it will be received much better.
What else would you add to the list? What are other “love moves” that would help us all strengthen our relationships with spouses, family, and friends?
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