Marriage is a great example of a relationship where the union is greater than the sum of the parts. Life is all about finding the people with whom we’re called to work, and enjoying the ride. The original couple was created to 1) be fruitful, 2) multiply, and 3) have dominion (Gen 1:28). So when we add the right spouse or team to our dream we can expect ministry results, financial increase, and authority before God and men. We are always better together. Wealthy and successful people understand this best because they surround themselves with strong and well-motivated team members. We just don’t do great things by ourselves; it’s always a team.
Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 1 Peter 3:7-10 NIV
“Honor your father and mother”-which is the first commandment with a promise— “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Eph 6:2-3 NIV
Heirs together – The greatest foundation for a marriage or any relationship is synergism of vision. My wife doesn’t need to be my clone, but I do need to understand her dream and encourage her to reach it. In the same way Sue encourages my dream in a way that gives me great freedom and authority in the Kingdom. I want to guard that relationship and all my family and team relationships so that my prayers are not hindered (1Pet 3:6), so that I can inherit a blessing (1Pet 3:7), and so that it may go well with me and that I enjoy long life on the earth (Eph 6:2-3). Here are some suggestions:
Purpose and goals – Relationships always have problems, complications, and communication issues; there are no exceptions with spouse, parents, children, or co-workers. The key to this gracious gift of life is knowing how to solve relationship problems. Hear this! Don’t focus on the problem first. Instead focus on the dream and destiny in that person (preferably, before issues come up). Help them discover themselves so you understand what makes them tick and why they do the things they do. They may not even know what their real life purpose is! If you understand the desires of their heart, you have a basis to help through an issue and let them know you’re supportive of the dream God has put in their heart. We all trade bitterness and resentment over the past for destiny in our future willingly as soon as we see the connection. Most of us do not just drop our bad attitudes because our spouse, friend or pastor points them out and tells us to. HELLO!
We developed a coaching module in The Price of Success that is designed to help identify our heart’s desires and a realistic plan to bring them into reality. We are all happier when we are making progress on the calling God has placed on our lives. I use it to know the real desires, goals and plans of the people with whom I work – it saves a million problems when I honor their purpose in life and help them achieve it. It’s also fun to see a brother or sister achieve greatness in the Kingdom.
Keep your mouth shut – People do things all the time that deserve a well-timed satirical insult. Although I enjoy shooting off my mouth, it never produces anything good, and it has historically gotten me into a lot of trouble. So now when I see a problem, a failure, a shortcoming, or a character flaw, I try to connect those people with their destiny so that I can figure out some way to bless them. Why? Well, I want to inherit a blessing, and if I go around cursing and complaining about people, it all comes back to me like Christian Karma. I also want those people to succeed, because they are on my team. The worst form of suicide is using words tear down my spouse – my closest team member. The immediate consequence is no sex, next comes no words, and third is no meals. Get the picture? Words are prophetic and powerful and they should only be used to bless people.
Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 1 Peter 3:7-10 NIV
Facilitating change – Helping people change can be a mine field. The first axiom is that you and I can’t solve other people’s problems or change their character issues – only they and God can. God is also in the business of granting people space to solve their own problems. If we try to play “good Samaritan,” we are often in God’s way and adding to their poverty.
What we can do is help others connect with their own destiny. That’s the space where they become motivated to make the changes themselves… lasting changes that work. One of the keys I’ve learned recently is that we are connecting people with their own heart’s desires placed there by God. We have to acknowledge that most of us carry some fear about going into the desires of our hearts because that’s where all the hurt and wounding is, too. Our natural inclination is to stay in our minds and keep our lives comfortable and superficial – which translates to uncomfortable and disconnected from our hearts. Learning to “hear” the difference between mind and heart is a big help.