THE Biggest Obstacle to Healthy Relationships

Throughout my life, no relationship has been spared from dysfunction. I’ve had dysfunctional friendships. I’ve had unhealthy relationships with family members. My marriage has been dysfunctional in multiple seasons in the seventeen years I’ve been married. My relationship with my kids has not always been what I want or wish it to be.

When a relationship is sideways or has tension or just isn’t what it should be, I can feel it. I know it. I can sense that the relationship needs more…there needs to be more forgiveness; more communication; more respect; more intimacy; more joy; more time together; more patience; more romance; more prayer; more unity; more of something.

So I do what most of us do…I start praying. I long to have God improve a friendship or transform my marriage, or repair my relationship with my dad, or deepen my relationship with my son, and my prayer is “God, please change them. God please change this relationship, help them to see their attitude, their choices, their behavior, their….”

Great prayer. It’s seems spiritual. How could God not answer that prayer?

What I’ve realized is that THE biggest obstacle to a healthy marriage; to a healthy relationship with my kids; to healthy friendships is not them…its me. I’m the biggest thing standing between the relationship that I want and the relationship that I have. I’m the common denominator among all the dysfunction.

You want healthy friendships? You want a healthy marriage? You want to repair the dysfunction between you and your parents? Here is the most important thing to change…YOU.

If you want God to change your relationships, you must be willing to allow God to change you first.

Maybe God is using the marriage you are in or the friendship you are struggling with or the friction you are feeling with your parents, to bring about change in you. Maybe the biggest opposition healthy relationships you have in your life isn’t the other person…it is you.

Am I saying that they don’t have baggage or junk or wrongs that they are bringing into your relationship? No, I am not saying that. I am saying you can’t change them. So often we get so consumed with what needs to change in someone else, we close ourself off to the change that God needs and desires to make in us. In doing that, we become the biggest obstacle to the relationships we truly desire.

If you begin praying “God use this marriage or use this relationship or this friendship to change me into the person you want me to be”, God will answer that prayer. Even if the person with whom you are struggling NEVER changes, your relationship with them will be better…because you will be different. You will be more capable of loving them in the way God desires.

It is so difficult to lay aside your rights, what you are owed, what you deserve, what they need to give you and simply say “God, change me.” It is in the honesty and the humility of that prayer that God shows up and transforms our heart, which in turn transforms every relationship in our life.

Which is an easier prayer for you: “God change them” or “God change me.”?

10 Responses to THE Biggest Obstacle to Healthy Relationships

  1. I am doing a daily pray for your spouse and before I can pray the pray for him, I have been thinking..I better start with me first. Such as his (my) attitude, emotions, priorities. This message always speaks to me. It took me a long time to discover that my number one “change” prayer should be to myself! Honestly, the more I work on myself, the better things get. Thanks for your ministry.

  2. Amy J.

    LOVE THIS. This speaks to me so much this week! So many times my practical, concrete self focuses on the “How do I fix this problem” approach, looking for an algorithm to solve for X – to change circumstances or outside factors. In realty surrender to God’s work in me is the real “fix” to the problem. Thanks for this!

  3. So good! I have been pondering the same thoughts over last few months. Great to hear it from someone else. Bless you.