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Relationship-changing Principles

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These 10 Relationship-Changing Principles will work for all your relationships, including with a spouse, partner, ex-spouse, parent, stepparent, sibling, child, stepchild, grandchild, grandparent, friend, in-law, co-worker, or anyone else. If your relationship is difficult, you are in a frustrating, complicated, and painful place. You have probably tried all kinds of things to make your relationship better, only to find that nothing has helped.

If you are a Christian, you are looking for Christian relationship advice that will help you know what God wants you to do in response to the many complicated dilemmas you face. Your tough questions need answers and practical solutions based on biblical principles that work. You will find those answers and solutions in these 10 Relationship-Changing Principles.

Here is an overview of each of the 10 Relationship-Changing Principles:

  • Reach Out

    woman-reaching-out2There is a time to reach out to others. Whether it is a support group, Twelve-Step recovery group, a mentor, counselor, spiritual leader, or individual, you will benefit from stepping out of your isolation. We are wounded in relationships, and it takes relationships to heal us.

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  • Understand Scriptural Truths

    12-Princ-5-picChristians often have misconceptions about biblical teachings on dealing with difficult relationships. These misunderstandings often lead them to respond in ways that prolong the problem and even make it worse. These misconceptions need to be corrected so you can apply helpful, healthy biblical truths to your relationships. Knowing the truth will set you free!

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  • Change Yourself, Not Them

    12-Princ-1-picPeople in difficult relationships desperately want other people to change. However, praying, wishing, nagging, lecturing, explaining, begging, threatening, controlling, and manipulating don’t work. The only way you can regain control of your life is to take the focus off changing someone else and put it onto changing yourself.

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  • Detach with Love

    12-Princ-8-picPeople in difficult relationships are deeply affected by other people’s choices. Detachment is about learning how to separate yourself physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally from situations and people that have a negative effect on you. Detachment with love allows you to care about your difficult person while not enabling their destructive behavior.

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  • Nurture Yourself

    12-Princ-2-picIt is easy to neglect yourself when you are caught up in taking care of and reacting to a difficult person. Many people also believe erroneously that taking care of themselves is somehow selfish, sinful, or unspiritual. It is not only scriptural that you take care of yourself; it is essential.

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  • Face Your Fears

    12-Princ-9-picYou most likely have many fears related to your difficult relationship. Fear can cause you to freeze, fight, or flee. While these responses are natural, they aren’t helpful. This principle teaches you to face your fears so you can move forward in doing what is right.

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  • Speaking the Truth in Love

    12-Princ-5-picDifficult relationships are characterized by unhealthy interactions. Underneath the dynamics of the poor communication are layers of expectations, resentments, pain, misinterpretations, wrong motives, denial, and dishonesty. Speaking the truth in love requires wisdom and an awareness of the things you need to do to meet the special circumstances of dysfunctional relationships.

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  • Set Boundaries

    12-Princ-6-picBoundaries are necessary to protect yourself and to set a standard for what is and isn’t acceptable in your relationships. Boundaries are not about making other people do what you want; they are about you deciding what you will and won’t do. It takes time to get clarity about your personal limits and then to become strong enough to set boundaries.

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  • Forgive Yourself and Others

    12-Princ-10-picChristians know they need to forgive, but they are often confused about what it means and how to do it. It is misunderstood to be tolerance, passivity, and enabling and that it should be offered without boundaries. Forgiveness is not intended to excuse unacceptable behavior; it is simply one of the ways you take care of yourself because it allows you to move forward, free of the past.

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  • Enter God’s Rest

    hands-surrenderDifficult relationships are exhausting and stressful, so it is important to learn how to enter God’s rest in the midst of the problems. The secret lies in learning how to surrender by intentionally doing things that will enable you to experience God’s peace and refreshing.

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