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About the Book


— Excerpt —

 

II. The Ultimate Purpose of Relationships

Why do we engage in relationships? Think about the many relationships that you are engaged in right now. What is their purpose? Is it important to have a spouse? Is it important to have friends? If so, why?

A relationship is work. Think about how hard teenagers work to be part of a clique; or how much trouble they go through in order to be part of a gang; or how much adults put up with to maintain a job, etc. People go through hell to maintain relationships. A woman will call her husband an idiot yet, she is ready to pounce on anybody who attempts to compromise their relationship; a man will call his wife a term that rhymes with witch yet, he can sell his soul to the devil to save hers. What is the ultimate purpose of relationships?

Every relationship, be it teacher-student or husband-wife, requires vested interest because it has a purpose. Though their immediate purposes may be different, whether to educate another individual or establish a family, all relationships contribute to the ultimate purpose of realizing God’s will, which is the purpose of our existence.

Many people like to say that relationships are about compromises. I would rather say that relationships are about transformation. Compromise has a negative connotation to it. However, transformation gives a sense of progress. Compromising is about giving up for the sake of giving in. On the other hand, transformation is about changing for the sake of moving forward. Given that the ultimate purpose of relationships is to realize God’s will, transformation is rather better than compromise for the former promotes growth.

Given the ultimate purpose of relationships, the fulfillment of all human relationships must and should, directly or indirectly, lead to the fulfillment of God’s will.

 

III. Building Healthy Relationships

Relationships are living entities. They have lives of their own. As such, they must breathe and grow. They must live; not suffocate. This means that people who are in relationships, be they friends or spouses, must breathe and grow together with their relationships.

Relationships deprived of growth will be unhealthy. By the same token, relationships that do not breathe, though they might last long, will be unhealthy. There is no question that people who are in suffocating and stagnating relationships will not be happy. Unhappy people make for suffocating and stagnating relationships and vice versa. It is a cycle, which should be broken if one desires to fulfill the purpose of one’s existence.

Any relationship in which involved parties do not grow, i.e., do not experience improvement in their whole being, will definitely come to a halt. This is why marriages end in divorce, and friendships in enmity. This is also why people leave their jobs for a better opportunity.

Relationships can be compared to bank accounts. A marriage, for instance, can be compared to a joint bank account between husband and wife. A family as a joint bank account between parents (i.e., a father/husband, a mother/wife) and children.

In general, a healthy bank account is one with a large balance. For an account to have a large balance, everybody involved in the care of the account must make conscious efforts to deposit more than they withdraw. The greater the balance, the greater the assets, and the healthier the account. So in order to have a healthy relationship, the parties involved—husband and wife, parents and children, friends, business partners, etc.—must be committed to spend less than they deposit into the relationship.

On the other hand, when a relationship is treated as if a credit card instead of a bank account, it will more than likely fall apart. This is because, with a credit card, a large balance is a sign of more debt rather than assets.

It is unfortunate that most people consider relationships as if credit cards. Credit cards start with an available credit. Hence purchases are made against the available credit. The greater the available credit, the greater the purchasing power one possesses. Therefore, those who come into relationships using and abusing the fortune that came along with their relationships, or taking away from their relationships without investing enough in them, behave as if their relationships were credit cards. Those who work hard for their relationships, sacrifice for and contribute toward the success of their relationships, or continue to sacrifice the self in order to make their relationships—be it marriage or family—prosperous and healthy, behave rightly for they consider their relationships as though they are bank accounts rather than credit cards.

Relationships are sustained by those who sacrifice the most. Hence, the day such sacrificial partners decide that enough is enough will be the day that their relationships will start to falter and eventually result into the end of whatever relationship it is—divorce if marriage, dissolution if business partnership, and enmity if friendship.

So those who want healthy relationships should practice depositing more and withdrawing less.

Take some time to think about some of the relationships you are involved in. Do you treat any of them as though they are credit cards? What type of partner would you like to be—the one who invests more or the one who withdraws more? Don’t we all deserve to be in good and healthy relationships?

 

 

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