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This one counter-intuitive tip will help you strengthen your relationships

posted Dec 20, 2013, 7:45 AM by Christine Merrill
Does that title sound like cheap internet advertisement?  :)

Back at the beginning of the school year, I was having a tough time getting along with Ellis.  Of course, when we're having a tough time with someone, our impulse is to want a break from that person.  In my case, put her to bed early, and hope she wakes up a little less crazy!  It all changed one night when everyone else was gone, and I let her stay up and read Calvin and Hobbes with me.  We just sat on the couch and laughed together, and somehow, that made everything better.

So what's the one counter-intuitive tip that I learned about relationships from this?  When you're having a hard time getting along with someone, spend MORE time with them, not LESS.  Are your kids driving you crazy?  Go do something one-on-one with them.  Your child's teacher has rocks in his head?  Go spend a day in the classroom.  Feel like you and your spouse can't see eye to eye much any more?  Get back to date nights, and don't let things get in the way.  You know it's important, so stop making excuses!

I think this little message puts it so well.

Family: It's about time.

Sometimes in life, severing a relationship seems so much easier than fixing it.  But relationships aren't just important, they're the basis of our purpose in life!  God sent us here to learn, with our spiritual brothers and sisters as lab material.  The test in life isn't how many scriptures we can memorize, it's how many people we can lift.  Family relationships, especially, are meant by God to be permanent.  The people we can grow with through better or worse.  But sometimes, those relationships really are in the "worse" category!  So what do you do?

When you have a relationship that's feeling stress, remember, you need to go counter to your impulse.  Don't withdraw from the person, draw closer to them!  It works!  You'll be amazed at how fast things get better just from time together!

And this leads me to an other deep though on the subject of relationships.  Sometimes, our relationship with our Father in Heaven goes through some stress, too.  We call it a trial of our faith.  Sometimes, it's hard to believe He's really there, listening to us.  Sometimes, it's hard to believe that He really expects us to do all the things He's asked us to do.  Sometimes we feel angry at Him for something that happened in our life.  At times like these, we really want to walk away from our relationship, even though we know how wonderful it has been to get to know Him in the past.  Don't do it.  Apply the principle we've been discussing, and go spend some time with Him.  One-on-one.  Go to the temple when you have some time to sit and pray.  Plan some extra time to read and ponder the words of His Son.  Do the things he would do if He was here - serving other people - to invite His Spirit into your life.  You'll be amazed at how fast things get better just from time together.