Why Are Relationships So Important?
As we approach the middle of February the topic of discussion seems to center around the big day—February 14th. This is a day that may cause distress for some, and delight for others. Valentine’s Day is all about relationships. If we’re in a romantic relationship, we are reminded to do something special for that special someone. But the card and chocolate companies carry this one step further, and want us to buy cards and chocolates for anyone in any kind of a relationship with us. Just take a look at the card aisle at your local grocery store, and you’ll see, not only romantic Valentine’s day cards, but also Valentine cards for mothers, fathers, grandparents, nieces, nephews, sons, daughter, aunts, uncles – and of course, friends.
Why is Valentine’s Day so complicated?
First of all, it is all about recognizing relationships. We are hard-wired for relationships. God created us to be in relationships. In the Garden of Eden, God created Adam. God and Adam had a relationship, but Adam needed someone else to have more balance in his life and so that God could better reflect His image to us. God brought the animals to Adam, and Adam named them, but none of the animals were suitable for this kind of relationship.
Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Genesis 2:18 ESV
So God created a new person, but not out of the dust of the ground, as Adam was made; God took part of Adam, his rib and made a new person, but not just any person; this person was designed specifically to be Adam’s perfect partner. And together, Adam and his perfect partner, Eve, would be able to enjoy relationship with each other and with God.
From the beginning, it was God, and Adam, and Eve. God intended to be glorified in this union, and for this relationship to reflect God’s image.
Take a look at the family unit. It is all about relationships. As babies, we are completely dependent upon someone else for survival. This is the first relationship we experience, that of our primary caregiver. This is the one person who is there when we cry, when we need food, and we need to be cleaned. We can’t do any of that for ourselves yet. Independence is learned over time. And we learn by being in relationship with someone who first models these things for us by doing it for us, then teaches us how to do it for ourselves.
So here’s the thing; if we were created to be in relationships, why are they so complicated? Why is it that relationships can be so fulfilling, or so painful?
Back to the Garden of Eden we go. Adam and Eve were living in perfect relationship with each other, and with God. But something happened which forever broke that perfect relationship. And that ‘something’ was sin. Satan tempted Eve, and though she was most likely standing near to Adam, (see Genesis 3:6) Eve did not ask for Adam’s support when she felt tempted to go against what God had told them, nor did Adam try to stop Eve from disobeying God. And let’s not forget that Adam and Eve were in a very close relationship with God; they could have waited, and asked God for clarification. But they did not. Through this decision to disobey God, sin forever damaged the perfect relationship that they had with each other, and with God.
Do you know why God banished Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden? It wasn’t to punish them; it was so that God could one day redeem them. God said “they must not eat of the tree of life and live forever” (Genesis 3:22). If they had, this would have made Adam and Eve immortal sinners. Their broken relationship and broken lives would not be mended. God had a plan to mend that brokenness, and it would require the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ. By this perfect sacrifice, Adam and Eve and all their descendants are redeemed, and the brokenness can be repaired.
Sin ruins everything. That’s why we must rely on God’s grace and wisdom in our relationships. We are hard-wired to be in relationships, but because we are imperfect, those relationships are imperfect. We are broken people, living in a broken and damaged world. We are not perfect. But there is one who is, and who has prepared the way for us to live in a redeemed relationship with Him, and with others.
As a counselor who is a Christian, I have a great burden for my clients who do not know the Lord. Without God, we do not have the hope of His grace, or the hope of salvation. There is no healing for the brokenness that sin causes without Jesus. It is God’s love and grace that helps us to have good relationships, whether it’s a romantic relationship, a marriage, a friendship, or a familial relationship.
Have a happier Valentine’s Day by asking God to show you how to live in His grace, and how to show His grace to others.
For more help with relationships, contact His Heart Foundation for a referral to a Christian counselor who can help you untangle your tangled relationships and truly begin to enjoy them as God intended.
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“The Relationship Cure: A 5 Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family and your Friendships” by Dr. John Gottman
“Changes that Heal” by Cloud and Townsend
“Healing the Father Wound” by Dr. Katherine Rodriguez
“How to Love and Be Loved” by Dr. John Townsend