That’s a big difference don’t you think? Now, before you draw too many conclusions, there should be some clarification on what it is we are talking about. Sonya and I went through some testing a few years ago performed by the Birkman organization. This was the result of one of the relationships area’s.
The results are the answer to the question “On a scale of 1 – 100 what is your need to be with people. Obviously a very low need on my part, and a very high need for Sonya. Some may be amazed that we have been married for over 40 years.
Before you think I am some kind of zombie who doesn’t like people or care about relationships, we should clarify this was only measuring my need to be with people. I like people. I just don’t want to be with them all of the time. They can be draining at times. Can you relate? Do you live with them?
Sonya on the other hand, being with people gives her life.
I can’t help but think there is another interpretation to those numbers because I don’t think I agree with the obvious conclusion of not needing people.
As a human race we need other people. We need relationships to challenge and support us. We are designed to be connected to one another.
The Law of Relationships – “Working together increases the odds of winning together.”
— The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork by John Maxwell
Google the word “Relationships”. You will get a myriad of results but the general idea is we experience many types. Some of the experts classify by grouping them into the common situations we encounter in life. Like Family, Work, Friends, Romantic or otherwise. We can all think of different circumstances where we have relationships but my question is
“If Relationships are important to us, how do we best develop them in positive ways?”
4 Levels of Relationships
Recently I was studying this in a John Maxwell class. The following Levels were identified.
- Surface Relationships – Most common kind. No strong commitment by either party
- Structured Relationships – Usually take place at a specific time or place. Kid’s baseball game or maybe church.
- Secure Relationships – When you have a common desire for the relationship to continue outside the structure.
- Solid Relationships – Trust has grown and long term relationships are a result.
Knowing which level your relationship is on is a good starting point in evaluating them. A process you should go through if you are wanting them to be good.
Another Question “Who is getting the better deal?”
There are givers and takers in our world. If I want people to add value to me then I need to be willing to add value to them first. If you want to influence others we need to value them and be willing to invest time in them. With our crazy penchant for technology and its distractions, I need to discipline myself to practice ‘being present.” When I am present in the conversation my focus is on Sonya and not the latest Hockey score, post or email notification I have just received. When I am present I become aware of what her needs are and how I might best build our relationship to support her.
Foundation To Build Relationship Upon
Our families and communities are stronger when we rely on solid relationships built on love and trust. They fail when we seek an unfair advantage over each other. The bible refers to this equality as righteousness. We might not always think to use this word when we are talking about relationships because quite often we end up sounding “Self – Righteous.” Not cool! The term “Self Righteous” declares I am made right through my own efforts. The truth is I am not able to make myself right. I need help. Really, I need all the help I can get but i don’t like or want to admit it.
Since I profess to be christian in my belief, it is important for me to understand what this means. I can very easily fall into the trap of trying to make myself appear right. One way I might do this is by seeing flaws in others and in doing so, make myself look better. Likely in my eyes only. Others would only see self-righteousness and judgment. The result of applying a human standard of what is right and wrong. I think its human nature to be pretty good at seeing the flaws in everyone else. The problem is my human standard is usually subjective. What I think is good might not agree with what you think. So what standard of righteousness could I use?
This idea of righteousness applies to my life in many areas but lets look at two. Those two areas are the two commandments Jesus said were greatest. Love God – Love People. My paraphrase. He said all of the rest are based on those two commandments. Both are to do with relationships. I can love God because he loved me first and accepted me the way I was. He extended his righteousness to me through the transforming and redemptive work of Jesus. In turn, just as Jesus makes me righteous, I am to extend Love and Grace to my fellow human and treat them with love. And here is the part we don’t like. Even when they are our enemy he says we are to do this. But you know, I look at the word love and I think our English language doesn’t allow us to fully understand the depth of it’s real meaning. Consider a most basic form of love is my acknowledgement of you as a human being like me. I am to treat you with respect and honor. To offer you dignity. That is a start. Isn’t it?
I know there is a lot more to this conversation that we could discuss. Maybe you agree, maybe you don’t. I wish I could say, “I get it right all the time”, but I don’t. For me, clearly it comes down to two things. Love God and Love People. When I love God, he gives me strength to live right and to treat others right. Just the basics.
Thanks for reading.