The relationships that mean the most to us are often the ones we are hardest on.

While we maintain a polite and pleasant demeanor away from home, the frustrations often come out at home where we feel safe to let off the day’s steam.

Life’s pressures can drive a wedge into the relationships we treasure most. It’s important to be intentional about building into the people we love and care about. In order to keep the relationships you treasure at their BEST, remember these four steps.

Bless those you care about by speaking life words into their character.  Pay attention and point out the character qualities that bless others.  By focusing on building words you will find the “warmth” factor in your relationship will grow as well. When there are things that need addressing, ask God to guide you in speaking words that will not destroy.

Encourage those you care about in their daily circumstances. Listen well to the things they have to say. Communication dries up when we don’t really pay attention to what the other person is saying. We each get lost in our own cares. Listen for the feelings behind the words and seek to bring hope. Let your support be known even when the solutions are not.

Share thoughts, ideas, time and experiences. When we become too busy to share ourselves with those we love, erosion and indifference can slip in. Be intentional about sharing life together. Take time to talk and share ideas or concerns. Time to pray together and dream together won’t be there unless you make it. Let those you care about know this is important to you and prioritize it.

Touch those you love in appropriate and loving ways. Touch is one of our most basic needs. Taking a hand, giving a hug, putting your hand on the arm or back can do much to convey care and warmth. In a marriage include lots of non-sexual touching as well. Often a simple touch can melt away a barrier and re-connect two people.

Strong relationships don’t just happen — they are intentionally built into. The advice of Philippians chapter 2, verse 4 is a good daily reminder.

“Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”Philippians 2:4

Copyright © 2011 by Gail Rodgers, used with permission.

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