Let’s explore some of the difficulties that might occur in the relationships we develop with others: Unrealistic Expectations: We enter relationships with certain expectations and when those goals are not met, it could lead to disappointment and frustration with the relationship. Placing unrealistic expectations can be harmful to relationships as the other person could feel like they have to measure up in order to be accepted.
One-Sided: Sometimes we are in a relationship where we are carrying the load. Perhaps in other relationships, the other person is very needy and can become demanding. Either way, the relationship is lacking balance and both parties could wear out eventually!
Unclear Communication: It’s been said, “Say what you mean and mean what you say!” Sometimes when we are attempting to communicate with each other, we don’t always share the context or what we actually mean and we assume that the other person can read our mind. Another problem with unclear communication is the tendency to jump to conclusions without all of the facts and information needed to gain an understanding and react in a godly manner.
Defensiveness and Self-Protection: It is so easy to put up walls in the midst of a conversation. Most times when we self-protect we are afraid to admit the truth because it might make us look bad. Other times we may be fearful of another person’s reaction. And still there are times that we experience a lack of trust in the other person and choose to keep our fortress secure no matter who the other person is.
Control and Manipulation: Some people may feel the need to control and manipulate others, often a reflection of their own insecurities. Others may portray feelings of superiority and entitlement as they relate to other people.
Conditional Acceptance: This difficulty could arise as a result of people developing relationships with ulterior motives. They might convey the message of acceptance only if the other person does certain things or meets certain standards.
Although we sometimes experience these difficulties in our earthly relationships we must always remember God’s unconditional love and acceptance as seen in Ephesians 2:4-5:
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.
Question to think about: What is going on behind the scenes in your relationships with others?