Paying Attention to Our Relationships

People always seem to be harping at us about relationships, and we have so many of them. We have spouses, close friends, children, grandchildren, lots of relatives and even colleagues at work with whom we spend an inordinate amount of time.

Just because we have these multi-tiered groups with whom we engage, it doesn’t mean we have “good” relationships with them. Perhaps it means we coexist well with them: They don’t bother us too much, and we don’t bother them (or at least we don’t think we do). There is no denying, however, that relationships with family members and in particular with your partner might be the most important things in your life. Therefore, you may need to resolve the conflicts between family members, in case there are any. For example, when problems in your marriage arise, it might be best to visit a counselor (if interested, have a look at counselling fitzroy) who can assist you to deal with communications breakdown, anger management, verbal abuse, and emotional abuse.

Being relational takes more time and effort than occupying space in the same place. It also means, I hope, more than being Facebook friends although keeping up with Facebook requires time and energy. According to some definitions, it requires a connection between and among people. Some folks relate well with their pets but not so much with people. Maybe it has something to do with a pet’s ability to seem to agree with us more than other folks do.
Pope Francis gave everybody a good deal to think about in his apostolic exhortation called “Amoris Laetitia” or “The Joy of Love.” Life is all about relationships, how we care for and relate to others. The pope points to the need to respect others enough to say “please,” “thank you,” and “sorry.” Remember the movie that told people “Love means never having to say you’re sorry”? Anyone who has thought about that for about five minutes knows that is pretty ridiculous. In fact, that may be the worst advice ever to give to anyone trying to maintain a good relationship with another person whether he/she is a toddler or an octogenarian. Being sorry for something that we say or do is paramount to repairing and/or strengthening a relationship.

And being polite, while never out of fashion, seems to have lost its place in the name-calling that has become almost de rigour for today’s politicians – not all of them, but enough so that we can hear them everywhere. Shakespeare’s “slings and arrows of misfortune” seem to be available through all media outlets. While polite discourse doesn’t draw crowds like shouting and name calling do, wouldn’t it be nice to try it, to step back from the brink of bad manners and surliness in our dealings with and reactions to others.

Pope Francis has the right idea: “Let us not be stingy about using these words, but keep repeating them day after day.”

Remember when folks said try to disagree without being disagreeable? The pope takes it to a more personal level: “Making a point should never involve venting anger and inflicting hurt.” Some people have a knack for saying hurtful things, of destroying relationships, seemingly, without even realizing it. Relationships, even strong ones, have a fragility that needs to be recognized, cared for and protected.