5 Powerful Questions for Relational Well-Being

February 01, 2019

5 Powerful Questions for Relational Well-Being

Healthy relationships can make a huge difference in our quality of life. But relationships can sometimes be tricky. Given the present climate of our culture which seems more divisive and argumentative as ever, fostering healthy relationships can make all the difference in the world.

Here are 5 powerful questions to ask yourself with respect to your relationships. There are no right or wrong answers, but these questions help to give you clarity on your motivations and intentions. Hope you find these helpful.

1. Am I making a point or a difference?

This one is not original with me, and I can't remember where I first heard it, but it's one of the best questions in our list. Making a point is easy but making a difference takes another level of involvement entirely.

Making a point can be self-gratifying if all you're after is a quick win, but rarely does it get us heard or prompt the kind of change we want to encourage in others.

2. Is this a problem to be solved or a person to be loved?

This a great question for those relationships which test your patience or your resolve. You are not going to agree with everyone, but not all arguments are worth 'dying on the hill for'!

This question also helps to clarify the problem areas of a person's character without demonizing the entire person. There will be times when relational problems arise, but this question helps to check your motivation as you interact with them.

3. Is this a demand placed on me or a desire deep within me?

Sometimes doing the right thing is more out of cultural expectations or demands, rather than something you feel compelled to do. We all know that we are much more motivated when it's something that resonates within the core of our being.

We are often told that finding our passion makes life and work more meaningful. In fact, the adage has been, 'Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life'! Whether this adage is true or not, our best is on display when it reflects our inner passions. This is true in everything from religion to relationships, from business to benevolence.

4. Is it time to be vulnerable or durable?

Being vulnerable is considered by many to be too risky. In an age where trust is hard earned and relational dysfunction is rampant, many live behind a facade of armour (what I call being durable). This is especially true whenever we have been burned or disappointed by love.

But having vital or authentic relationships means being vulnerable. Without it, we never can have the kind of intimacy or human connection we so vitally need. Yes, it does leave us open to potential hurt again, but nothing communicates authenticity like vulnerability. Besides, what better tool for rooting out the toxic and fake people in your life than vulnerability? 

5. Does being different mean I need to be distant?

This final question helps to root out the people or groups you are most uncomfortable with. I read recently that people are moving more towards nationalism and tribalism in ways we have not seen in some time. This is a disturbing trend. Look at the political landscape the last few years over the question of immigration and you can see what a problem its becoming.

There is a natural apprehension to people who are different than us. This is at the heart of prejudism and racial tensions. What is also true is the closer we lean into those who appear different from us, the more we find to have in common. It is always healthier when relationships are built on shared values, rather than our differences. And when we work from this framework, our differences become something to recognize openly and even celebrate.

One final note on the importance of this final question. The precursor to persecution is the dehumanization of a target group. The dehumanizing process often involves the stressing of differences as a means of validating hatred and fear. Therefore, this question helps to guard us from potential relational dangers.

Let me close with a passage from the apostle Paul who wrote:

Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. (Rom. 12:17-18 NLT)

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