Relationships are important. God intends for us to have them; with him as well as with each other; that’s why he made us relational beings. We all crave relationship in one form or the other. family relationships, friendships, companionships, and at the core of our being is the ultimate craving for a relationship with God. It might take a while for some people to get there, but eventually, they will realize that empty space can only be filled with relationship with God.
Our relationship with other people is driven by 3 core drivers; and these drivers determine if we maintain a healthy relationship or if we mess it up. They are: ATTENTION, AFFECTION & AFFIRMATION.
If we are going to have a healthy and balanced relationship with the people we love (our spouse, partner or children), the attention need must be met. we all need it from people who love us, so we must give it too. The attention need is met by being there, listening, watching, engaging and interacting.
A little girl once said frantically; “Daddy, Daddy! watch me!” But he wasn’t paying attention. he was busy talking to a neighbor. Then the neighbor said: “If you don’t watch her now, soon she’ll look for another guy to give her the attention she wants from YOU.”
A lot of young women are in dysfunctional relationships today because they did not have a healthy relationship with their father.
A child who feels accepted and loved develops better learning ability as compared to a child who feels unaccepted and unloved. This is because the former child is able to boost his/her self-esteem and confidence from feeling good about himself/herself as well as his/her environment.
Parents are our first instructors in learning about relationships. Children who are raised in homes where they receive attention, affection and affirmation grow up to have a healthy view of relationships and more often than not, relate with others the way they have learnt at home.
Affection is shown both physically and verbally. We all need hugs and safe touch. Male or female, we need to hear the verbal affection of “I love you,” and other forms of communicating love. It’s important to verbalize your feelings; not just for the other person, but the more you speak the words, the more they are established. (remember the spiritual principle of having what you say?) Children, spouses, and the people in our life that we truly love need daily reminders of the fact that they are loveable.
We need to be hugged, we need to be touched affectionately. Researchers from the University of North Carolina found that hugging increases the bonding hormone oxytocin and decreases the risk of heart disease. Hugging helps us strengthen our bonding with our loved one. When we hug affectionately, the recipient feels a sense of acceptance. The sense of acceptance is very important in affecting the overall growth and development of a healthy relationship.
We all need affirmation. our need for affirmation is met when our feelings, efforts, skills and gifting are validated by the person we love. If you love someone, noticing and commenting when they do things right or even try, communicates, “I am for you” and “I believe in you.” It goes a long way in boosting self-confidence and security in the relationship. If you ever meet an insecure person, you are most likely meeting someone who was never validated and affirmed by people who should have loved her. More often than not, when this problem is rooted in the home, throughout early childhood, it will most likely translate into an adult life filled with insecurities and low self esteem.
‘God put these needs inside us and he intends them to be met through our connections with other people. As our needs are being met, we are also meeting other people’s needs as well.
2 Corinthians 1:4
“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”
Technology and social media has created a superficial degree of counterfeit connection, and real heartfelt relationships are suffering. most of us think we are connected to other people through our Smartphone’s, but in reality we are connected to the phones and the alternate reality we live in. I am also guilty of this and i can honestly say, i will rather put the phone down and talk to you physically, I’ll rather you hear my voice say i love you than type it out with emojis.
If we want a balanced, healthy relationship, we can’t compromise on the integrity of the drivers; ATTENTION, AFFECTION & AFFIRMATION