Orange County Christian Counseling
Relationships are like flowers. Sometimes they go through seasons of exceptional growth and blooming, and other times they need trimming and pruning. Much like flowers, relationships can enter seasons of drought. Sometimes a lack of proper nourishment can lead to relationship issues and make it difficult for them to reach their full potential.
Consider these relationship issues and scenarios:
Betty and Tamaya
Recently, Tamaya married her college sweetheart while Betty has not yet found “the one.” They are currently trying to navigate this new phase of their friendship as Tamaya is married and Betty is single. Betty does not always understand why Tamaya chooses date nights over girl’s nights.
Tim and Bob
Tim and Bob have been great friends for over three years. Recently, they were in a car accident while headed to go camping for the weekend and Bob had to have his leg amputated. Tim was the driver and feels responsible for Bob’s injury.
He feels responsible for Bob’s difficulties right now with trying to adjust to his new normal. Tim is at a loss for words, so he has been avoiding Bob altogether. He is not sure how to go about reaching out to Bob during this difficult season of life.
Sam and Liz
Sam and Liz have been married for seven years. They are best friends with another couple who are expecting the arrival of their baby any day now. Because Sam and Liz have been unable to conceive, they feel an overwhelming jealously when they are around their friends who are constantly discussing pregnancy cravings, the size of the baby, and their plans for the nursery.
They want to be happy for their friends, but they are having a tough time maneuvering their longing for a growing family of their own. They want to support their friends in this new journey of parenthood, but they are unsure how to go about doing so.Relationship issues are constantly changing and evolving. People change. Both individuals and relationships face hardships. People go through periods of anxiety and depression. Relationships experience seasons of overwhelming bliss while others experience one torrential downpour after the other.
People withdraw from relationships and activities when their world feels like it is crumbling around them. Sometimes people withdraw from relationships when they are unsure of how to help the other person. Sometimes people have good intentions but are unsure of how to properly carry out those intentions with everyone’s best interests.
Steps for Dealing with Relationship Issues
Consider these steps to maneuvering difficult seasons in relationships:
1. Sometimes relationships make you bend, but they do not have to make you break.
It is important to recognize that though a relationship faces a season of hardship, this does not mean that the relationship is not worth investing in and fighting for. Sometimes the most difficult seasons lead us to destinations in our relationships that are far greater than any place we have ever been.
We want to strive for raw, real, authentic relationships. We want to invest in the relationships that bring us closer to Jesus. We want to invest in relationships that support our dreams and endeavors rather than tear them down. We want to allow people into the darkest places of our hearts – those who encourage us to let the light in and keep moving forward.
2. Know the difference between a difficult season in a relationship and a divisive relationship.
It is important to take time to reflect on your seasons in relationships. A friend who encourages you to flirt with a married man is not the relationship to invest in. If you have a friend who encourages you to leave your husband, even though your husband is willing to attend counseling with you to work on his poor communication patterns and put the work into your marriage, it may be time to think through your friendships.
- Invest in relationships that make you better, not bitter.
- Invest in relationships that support working through the difficult seasons.
- Invest in relationships that keep showing up for you.
- Invest in relationships that you keep showing up for.
- Invest in relationships that put God first.
- Invest in relationships that prioritize God, family, and then others.
3. Know that some friendships will be different.While some people strive for popularity among all their friends, it is important to know that different relationships have different phases and seasons. Some friends will keep showing up for you through the financial troubles, through the miscarriage, and the seasons of an identity crisis.
There will be other friendships that feel distant, disingenuous, and like you are being used. It is important to be yourself regardless of what kind of friend you encounter. Stay true to who you are and what God has said in His word. Do not feel like you need to take on new habits or try new things just to fit in with someone.
4. Always pray for your friends.
Regardless of whether it is your spouse, best friend, or a friend you had a falling out with years ago, you must pray for them. We should love others and pray for them, even when they have wronged us. We should pray for those who persecuted us in middle school. We should pray for the friend who spread lies about us years ago.
Luke 6:27-31 paints the picture of God’s intention for our relationships perfectly:
“But to you who are listening, I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
We do not have to base our actions on the actions of others, but try to love others, even during difficult seasons. Does this mean you have to tell the person who spread lies about you all your deepest, darkest secrets and struggles? Absolutely not. It means that we do not want to harbor the negative feelings from past friendships. We do not have to carry hate in our hearts. Peace is possible, even amid a storm.
5. Show up for your friends.
It is important to remember to show up for your friends. If your friend was just in a car accident and lost a limb, they probably need you now more than ever, even if you have no idea what to say. Sometimes we worry so much about what to say, that we forget our presence can be more powerful.
Our support might be exactly what they need. It is also important to note the friends that keep showing up for you. Thank them for showing up. Check on them. Ask how they are really doing. Invite them to church with you if they do not currently have a church home. Pray for them.
Let Your Relationships Take Root
Relationships can be tricky. Some relationships withstand the test of time and trials, while others are short-lived and from a distance. As was said before, relationships are like flowers. Are you choosing to nurture those roots so they can thrive, or do you feel yourself withdrawing from the pruning process?
Perhaps you have been in a physically or verbally abusive relationship. This kind of relationship can leave lasting scars on your heart and your idea of relationships. The scars from that hurt might be holding you back from living all-in and from trusting other people.
I want to encourage you to schedule a counseling appointment today. Whether you are living with emotional or physical scars from past relationships, they do not have to continue hindering your future relationships.
Bible Verses on Friendships
Do to others as you would have them do to you. – Luke 6:31
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. – Colossians 3:12-14
One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. – Proverbs 18:24
Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. – James 4:11
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. – John 15:12-15
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. – Philippians 2:3
Christian Counseling for Relationship Issues
If you’re looking for a Christian counselor for relationship issues in Orange County or the nearby communities in southern California, we invite you to browse our online counselor directory to find the best counselor for your needs and schedule an appointment. You don’t need to deal with relationship issues alone; help is available from a professional, trained relationship therapist.
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