Relationships: Relationship CPR
Biblical Tips On Relationships:
For relationship CPR, try applying the steps to love in 2 Peter 1:5-7.
2 Peter 1:5-7
Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.
Step 1: Moral Excellence
The first step to change is honesty. Take a personal inventory and immediately stop anything you are doing wrong. We know how to behave. It is outlined in the Bible. Apply it. Forget what anyone else is doing to you and simply correct your behavior immediately.
If you are constantly criticizing, for today – STOP!
If you are arguing – for today, STOP!
If you are gossiping – for today, STOP!
If you are impatient – for today, STOP!
If you are being negative about everything – for today, STOP!
If you are being cold and distant – for today, STOP!
You get the point. You can do anything for one day that might appall you if you had to do it for a lifetime.
Step 2: Knowledge
Once behavior is corrected, you will be amazed at the knowledge that will come your way. Take a deep breath and accept it. You will suddenly see clearly. You will understand how your behavior has been impacting others. It may hurt. You will see the change in what you are doing and feel the relief. Collect the knowledge and remember it for the future.
Step3: Self Control
With knowledge, we have the motivation to begin practicing the uncomfortable art of self control, one day at a time. There is a reason you were driven to those negative behaviors mentioned in Step 1. The demon self-pity screams, “After all, they deserve it.” Do not give in to temptation. Develop the illusive skill of self-control. There will be a reward.
Step 4: Perseverance
Perseverance is practicing self-control day after day for an extended period of time. No problem that is significant enough to cause relationship difficulties is solved quickly. Let the days build up one by one. Do not lose faith. Perseverance is hard but do not stop before the miracle happens!
Step 5: Godliness
When you have consistently practiced the loving behavior directed by the Bible, you begin developing Godliness. When the people around us experience the unconditional love of God through us, it has an amazing impact on our relationships. The impact only comes through time because the people near us keep expecting us to revert to our former behavior. You will be becoming more God-like each day you persevere.
Step 6: Brotherly Kindness
Up until now, the behavioral change has been intellectual. When people around us experience Godliness, the love starts coming back to us. Our emotions become engaged and we begin to feel kindly towards those around us. Over time our attitude changes. Do not be discouraged if this takes a while. There is an expression that applies here. “Fake it till you make it.”
Step 7: Love
If you do this day after day, you will wake up one morning and realize how deeply you love and are loved. It is amazing. Love takes time and practice but it will come our way.
I am going to tell you a true story about someone I know. I’ll use the name Jenny. Jenny married too quickly and probably for the wrong reasons. She and her husband constantly argued. There was no love in her home and she was desperately unhappy. She was an intellectual snob and felt above church and God. She begin using food as a way of dealing with the unhappiness in her life. The following weight gain devastated her.
She entered the 12 Step program, Overeaters Anonymous(OA), where she learned to turn her life and will over the care of God. She worked the program and stopped overeating. She began developing a relationship with God. She eventually accepted Christ and began going to church.
She got honest about the problems in her marriage and was sure her marriage was over. Her OA sponsor helped her to take responsibility for her part in the marital difficulties. She confessed to God and her sponsor and began to make amends to her husband. She forgave him for the harm he had done her. She released any expectations about his behavior and began practicing self-control, one day at a time. She acted loving before she felt it.
I watched the change in her. At first, the changes were only behavioral. She exercised self-control but struggled with the hardness of her heart. Eventually, her attitude began to change. She began to speak kindly about her husband. Their relationship began to change. Now, years later, she is deeply in love with her husband. They are very different people but love has secured their marriage.
Jenny still goes to church and her husband stays home. Jenny does not push and just loves him for who he is. They no longer argue. His face lights up when he talks about her. Jenny recently told me, “We do not have that much in common and by most intellectual standards, we are probably not well suited. Love has filled in the gaps and we are happy. My spiritual growth made all the difference. Thank God.”