We all want to find the “right” person to be in a relationship with and hopefully end up in a good marriage. But the reality is that many of us might not find the right person and we might not end up in a good marriage. It is easy to find ourselves repeating the same relational mistakes over and over again. After getting our hearts broken too many times, we can come to the conclusion that maybe this relationship thing is not for us.
Regardless of what your relationship status is right now, it is important that you navigate through relationships wisely and carefully. Some of you have been in bad relationships and you know the pain of not getting out of it sooner. Some of you are in a bad relationship right now and you know that you need to break it off. For some of you, the desire and hope to be in a relationship create a longing that fills you with anxiety and angst.
Relationships are messy. There is no fail-proof formula. But it doesn’t take a nuclear engineer to figure out some basic principles to follow. Even though there is no one right method to approach relationships, there are some basic principles to keep in mind as you look to get attached to someone. However, just because you follow some principles, it does not guarantee a good relationship and marriage. It takes a lot of hard work and usually when we have a clear purpose and we understand the important value of it, then we will take some steps forward. Here are 6 skills (ATTACH) that you can implement in order to be attached to the right person so that you can start your relationship on a good note:
- A – ADDRESS your issues – So many of the conflicts and fights in a relationship stem off from our unresolved issues. This is why it is critical that you take the time to know what your issues are and then address them with the help of other people who know you and love you. We all have triggers that we have to identify and then tackle with courage. When we work on becoming a better version of ourselves, then we will increase the probability of having a better relationship.
Next Steps: Ask a close friend to help you identify some of the character issues that hinder you in relationships. Then make the investment to work on it daily.
- T – TIMING of season – We all want to do so many things and we are able to, BUT not all at once. One of the reasons why relationships fail is because we are overspent and overwhelmed with a lot of things on our plates; therefore, we cannot and do not make the relationship a priority. Also, we forget that in some seasons of life, it is good not to be in a relationship so that we can grow as a person and explore to find out more about who we are and where we are headed in life. Don’t just jump into a relationship because you are lonely or because all your friends have a significant other. Know your season of life and enjoy it thoroughly before you make a commitment to someone.
Next Steps: Take some time to reflect and ask yourself: a) What are some things that you went through in the last 6 to 12 months that shaped you? b) What are some things you need to focus on in the next 6-12 months? c) Will you have the capacity to add another major commitment to our life right now?
- T – TAKE it slow – Too often, when we find someone that we are interested in, we have a tendency to race ahead without observing our pace. When you go too fast in a relationship, it is easy to miss the warning signs that might tell you that this relationship might not be healthy. But when you slow down the pace, frequency, and depth in which the relationship is going, then you are able to not only enjoy the process, but it gives you the clarity to catch some of the red flags that might go up. If we move too fast, it is difficult to determine if it is simply lust or genuine love. And as we all know, one is good for a lasting marriage and the other one is good for a one-night stand.
Next Steps: Check the frequency of communication, as well as the expectation of the relationship. If you feel like it is going too fast, then express it to the person and start to draw some boundaries.
- A – ASK good questions – In the “getting to know” process, we fail to strengthen the relationship by not asking good questions. Therefore, we only superficially know the person. Then after we get married, we are shocked when we start to discover various things about the person. This is why in the early stages of developing the relationship, we need to ask good questions that will enable the both of you to understand each other – our pasts, our family backgrounds, our values, our priorities, our fears, our hopes, etc.
Next Steps: Each time you spend time together, try to have one purposeful conversation so that you can get to know each other better. For example, you can share about your most important experiences in life and how they shaped you.
- C – COUNSEL from others – We all have an overestimation of ourselves. We think we have all the answers and that we can figure things out on our own. But this is the reason why so many of you have failed in relationships. We all have blind spots. Therefore, there are things that you do not see that some of your closest confidants might be able to see. When you invite others into the process and get some counsel from couples who are ahead of you in the journey, then you can be more aware of things to watch out for. Don’t go through it alone. Get the right people around you to speak life into your relationship.
Next Steps: Find a married couple and ask them to mentor you. Don’t forget to buy the meal or coffee for their time and investment in you.
- H – HONOR one another – The Collins English Dictionary defines, “honor” as: to show great respect or high regard for; treat with deference and courtesy. This sense of honor has been lost in our generation due to all the negativity and vitriol in the news media and social media. When you lose a sense of respect for someone, then the probability of taking advantage of them for your own self-centered purpose increases. It always helps to see the person as someone who has people who love and care for them such as family and friends. In this way, you need to ask yourself, “How would I want to be treated?” “How would I want my sister/brother to be treated by someone else?” We all know the hurt that comes from manipulative, disingenuous, and nasty people. Uphold honor.
Next Steps: Remind yourself that the person you are pursuing is a person that has value to be treated with honor and respect.
We all long to be with a person whom we can call a “forever friend” and a lifelong partner in a good and healthy marriage. Sadly, there are many people who are in miserable marriages and many people who have had their hearts broken repeatedly. But is there a way to approach relationships differently? Although relationship can get complicated and messy, there is hope. Keep these 6 skills (ATTACH) of being attached to the right person so that you can find a person whom you can go through life with:
- A – ADDRESS your issues
- T – TIMING of season
- T – TAKE it slow
- A – ASK good questions
- C – COUNSEL from others
- H – HONOR one another