Four Legs of a Relationship
You may have heard the analogy that relationships are either built on sand or stone. Sand, obviously, is unstable and anything built on it is subject to fail, while stone is solid and can stand the test of elements and time. Well, I have my own analogy about relationships. In my own words, I relate a relationship to a table. Think of the table as the base of a relationship – and each leg, the foundation. Each leg represents a vital component that must be present for the relationship to be successful. The legs are made up of Respect, Communication, Honesty and Trust. Without any one of these legs, the table will become unstable. And, as everyone knows, anything built on an unstable foundation will ultimately fall. Yes, you can have a relationship with three legs, but it will be wobbly and…unhealthy. Likewise, if one leg is shorter than the others, the foundation is not sound and problems are prominent. There may be more legs holding up your table or maybe a different mix of elements, but I think these four elements represent the most crucial. When any one of these qualities is lacking or inadequate, they must be addressed immediately in order to save the relationship.
I’ll be the first to admit that there are warranted situations where a relationship is better off ending, however, often times it can, and should be salvaged. The element of honesty can mean we have to deal with emotions that are uncomfortable or even painful. Or maybe difficulties result from baggage we carry with us that we didn’t even realize existed. Counseling can be very effective. No! It doesn’t mean you are accepting defeat or admitting fault, it just means you are willing to do what it takes to repair the leg that is damaged in your relationship and it shows that you are willing to go the extra mile to save a love you cherish. Too often we forget our vows to be there for our spouse through thick and thin. No one is perfect. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our daily lives that we need a trained outsider to help us move forward. Sometimes that trained outsider can help us put the pain into perspective so we can find a solution. Take an inventory of your relationship to ensure it remains on a solid foundation.“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 “Do for others what you would like them to do for you. This is a summary of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” Matthew 7:12 “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8 “So don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time.” Galatians 6:9 “Don’t just pretend that you love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Stand on the side of the good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” Romans 12:9-10 “Two people can accomplish more than twice as much as one; they get a better return for their labor. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble. And on a cold night, two under the same blanket can gain warmth from each other. But how can one be warm alone?” Ecclesiastes 4:9-11 “”I also tell you this- if two of you agree down here on earth concerning anything you ask for, my Father in heaven will do it for you.” Matthew 18:19 “Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?” Amos 3:3 “The Lord hates those who don’t keep their word, but he delights in those who do.” Proverbs 12:22 “Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.” Proverbs 12:25 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. ” Matthew 6:34 “Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32 “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” Ephesians 4:29 “Beginning a quarrel is like opening a floodgate, so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.” Proverbs 17:14 “Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride. Don’t be quick-tempered, for anger is the friend of fools.” Ecclesiastes 7:8-9 “A person without self-control is as defenseless as a city with broken-down walls.” Proverbs 25:28 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 “Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery.” Hebrews 13:4 “In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man is actually loving himself when he loves his wife.” Ephesians 5:28 “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord is the one who goes before you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:8
Respect includes a lot of things but primarily it means accepting your significant other for who they are and who they are trying to be. It means supporting them in times of trouble and, even when you disagree, still standing beside them. Respect means appreciating a person, admiring them and considering their feelings.
This is an obvious one but it goes beyond just talking. It means communicating both verbal and non verbally. Some people, like myself, need to think things through before they are ready to talk about them. Expressing yourself is important in many aspects of life, but especially in a relationship. Communication could be a simple note attached to the sun visor that says “I love you”, or communication could be the act of simply listening while the other people vents.
This is a no brainer but I find this trait to be the most complex for some people to comprehend. Everyone makes mistakes but lying about them only weaves a sticky web. I think my sheltered upbringing made me oblivious to how rude and heartless some people can be. There is no benefit in lying, only temporary satisfaction. The truth does come out…eventually.
Trust can sometimes take work…it can be earned or given but never taken. Trust creates a secure environment where you feel…safe. Whatever degrees, trust is an imperative element in a relationship. The nurturing and cultivating of trust never ends. Regardless if you are on the receiving or giving end of trust – don’t take trust for granted.