Whether it be a brother or sister. A mother or father. A girlfriend or boyfriend. What is the reason for you being in a relationship? Is it to have the title of belonging to someone else, so that others can look at you and say, “Hey, isn’t that so and so’s blank?” Or is it because you feel you have a genuine connection with that person that you can’t get with anyone else.

       I have considered this many times in my life as I’ve reviewed my own mistakes in relationships. I try to be sure I’m not putting myself in a position to be taken advantage of, while also not taking people for granted myself. This doesn’t mean putting a wall up to block out all the new people you meet, it means being careful and sure that whoever is involved is comfortable with the way things stand. I am a strong believer in keeping the scales balanced. Fairness, otherwise known as “Going Dutch In Life”.

     The Bible says in 1 Peter 3:8, “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” Our hearts will tell us when we have found those healthy, viable connections, by causing us to change on the inside. If you have an inability to compromise with the people you are closest to, eventually, everything will bottom out. Statistics are high when it comes to relationships that fail because of dissent. Selfishness is within the top 10 reasons that marriages fail. But once you are willing to open up and be supportive of someone else’s interests, I believe you will see things drastically change for the better.

         Some of the most amazing acts of love have happened in my life when I decided I wasn’t going to just make things about me. When I sacrifice for the people I love, it also makes me feel better, even if they don’t notice it at first. Furthermore, when you sacrifice, it’s important to resist the urge to put out your hand for a return payment. Give, without expectation. That’s the best way to live in my opinion.

          I was in line at Walmart about a week ago, picking up a few frivolous things for the house. It was extra hot that day, and I could tell the energy of the store had slowed to a crawl. When the cashier rang up my items and told me the total, I pulled out my money to pay and noticed that I was short a dollar. I can honestly say, this is VERY unlike me. I always make sure to count out every, single, last coin I need before I walk out the door for that very reason. It wasn’t that I didn’t have the money, it was that the trip back home would’ve been an inconvenience and very much out of the way. Just as I was about to give something I really needed up, the man behind me spoke up and asked how much I was short. I told him it was just a dollar. Before I could say anymore, he pulled out his wallet and handed me the single bill. For me, it was like a sliver of heaven served on a silver platter. For him, it seemed to be a normality. The look on his face was filled with such compassion, like he was happy to do it.

            As I wished him a blessed day, I walked away thinking, if it’s so easy for strangers to give to strangers, why can we not do the same thing for our blood family, and extended family? Why can’t we take interest in some of the things our spouses enjoy, or even play a board game with our 7-year olds? Why can’t we put aside our selfish desires to give of our time, and be HAPPY to do it? The truth of the matter for all of us is, if we care enough, we WILL put in the work. We will DECIDE to make those big OR small decisions in the name of love. There is nothing holding us back, except ourselves.