These are 3 relationship skills you cannot afford to pass up.
Healthy relationships require so much attention and commitment. We admit–the work is exhausting at times, but when you find skills that work for you it simplifies the process. Every relationship skill doesn’t work for everyone. Some ideas you will connect with more than others. This is our rendering of some additional tools you can add to your toolkit.
Every healthy relationship needs a good tune-up. A tune-up for your car is basically the regularly scheduled maintenance on your car’s engine every 2 years to help your car reach optimal or peak efficiency and performance. A tune-up on an instrument brings the instrument into the correct pitch for optimal performance and to ensure it is uniform with any other instruments.
A lack of a tune-up on a car simply means mediocre performance and compromised efficiency. In worst case scenarios, a problem can develop impacting drivability that could have otherwise been avoided.
There is a strong parallel to relationships. Every so often you need to check the engine on your relationships. How many miles have you racked up and are you in good condition to go another several thousand with this person? Are there some budding problems that if not addressed, will cause a break-down and leave you and the other party on the side of the road?
What relationships of yours need to be assessed and tuned-up so that you can go the distance? A tune-up can be as simple as meeting a friend for lunch and catching up, calling a friend and apologizing for a hurt, setting up quality time with a spouse where the focus is on “How are we doing?” A tune-up can also be that friend that you need to say “Let’s start over” with.
If you are married a tune-up can mean scheduling a marriage counseling appointment or reading a marriage self-help book together.
It’s impossible to connect to someone you are not mindful of, don’t listen to, or struggle to focus on. Distraction limits attraction in healthy relationships. Misunderstandings rot relationships from the inside out. Assumptions are recipes for disaster. The best way to avoid these pitfalls is to tune-in.
Part of your tune-UP requires you to tune-IN to your relationships and give them more of your attention. Tune-in to the people you love. Find out what’s going on in their lives (and not from 3rd party sources). When you are with those you love, avoid distractions that keep you from giving them eye contact, verbal feedback and active listening. Get excited about what is going on in others’ lives. Celebrate with your loves. Cry with them. Have compassion on their circumstances. And if you are feeling compelled, offer to pray with someone. Prayer in the moment is a great way to say “I am tuned-in to you”.
Who do you need to make better eye-contact with? Who have you been half-listening to? What friend has some important details in his/her life that you are in the dark about?
After you have identified what relationships need tune-ups and who you can tune-in to, the final step is identifying what or who you need to tune-out. Tuning-out means disconnecting in a healthy way. It means being intentional about ignoring negatively-charged relationships. Tuning-out is essentially setting a boundary with people who are not safe, unhealthy, or toxic. It can mean cutting off communication with someone who influences you negatively. It can mean refusing to listen to your critics.
Many of our toxic and problematic beliefs about ourselves are really not our own voice; they are lies someone else has said about us. Often times are behaviors, patterns and habits are not demonstrations we are conscious of; they are imprints from our environment or our circle of influence. We won’t be able to be our healthiest with the people who need us to be healthy if we are acting out on things we tuned-in to that we should have tuned-out.
Because we love to talk about social media and its impact, its important to know when to tune-out what you are exposed to. Don’t minimize the influence that hundreds of pieces imagery and text taken in daily can do to your relational health. You’ll start wondering why your husband hasn’t sent you flowers in a while, why your friends have never thrown you a surprise party, why your wife doesn’t look attractive to you anymore. Know when to tune-out social media’s influence and tune-in to the person sitting next to you. You will be glad you did.
“Learn to tune-out social media and tune-in to the person sitting next to you!”
Adjusting your relationship dials to the right tune can be a lot of work; whether you need to tune-up, tune-in or tune-out, but it will be well worth it once you experience what its like to be in-tune with those around you. HAPPY TUNING!