Agapé UK is strengthening relationships and promoting the importance of community and family life, to enhance the emotional and spiritual wellbeing of everyone in society.
Through our FamilyLife resources and events, we’re supporting people around the country to build flourishing relationships and strong marriages, and discover what it means to have a lasting relationship with Jesus.
Exploring your questions about home...
How can we love people well? It’s a huge question! And 2020 has brought up even more questions. How do I stay connected with family whilst keeping them safe? How can I extend the hand of friendship to those around me? How can I show love and support to my neighbours? Our first response is usually to invite people around to our homes for food, fun and laughter. It’s a sure-fire way of getting to know others better and to show them we value and love them. It’s hospitality… and it’s been done for centuries! So what do we do when this is just not possible?
The phrase ‘thinking outside the box’ comes to mind. We need to rethink hospitality and make the most of what we can do. Use our phone, Zoom, Whatsapp conversations to show others that we’re really listening and that we care what they are saying. Give them a listening ear which allows them to express all that they are feeling and experiencing right now. Join in with online quizzes or games they are organising. Show up and show your support. Put yourself in the awkward position of not being in control so they don’t have to. And most of all, persevere for as long as this takes. One day we’ll be able to host people in our homes once again. But in the meantime, why don’t we use this time as an opportunity to learn new hospitality habits – you never know, they might even be better than the old ones.
We’re all in relationships, with colleagues at work, friends, family members and a partner, if married. How we respond to those people will contribute to the quality of the relationships.
Someone once said that great relationships don’t happen by accident. They take effort. Another person said that love is spelled: T-I-M-E.
A thriving relationship will have honesty and openness at the heart of communication, which means feeling safe, trusting the person you’re with and helping them to trust you. You could add love, respect, acceptance and support to the ingredients for a flourishing relationship. Good relationships also resolve disagreements in healthy ways, offering and receiving forgiveness.
But relationships are about mutuality more than particular behaviours. There is healthy interdependence so we are happy to give and to receive.
We can learn to build thriving relationships and many psychologists provide evidence-based principles for these. An example is Attachment Theory, which describes our need for intimate connection.
The Bible is clear that humans were created to be connected, well before the development of Attachment Theory. The first thing that was “not good” in the Creation order was for the man to be alone, and so God made a woman so that together they could fulfil each others need for intimacy.
The Bible also teaches that the foundation for thriving relationships is a thriving relationship with Jesus, which profoundly impacts our identity and behaviour. So if we want to build thriving relationships the best place to start is where we stand with Jesus and grow in our relationship with him.
Marriage has existed for thousands of years across all cultures and continents. It is in a few modern, western societies where some people are questioning the value of marriage. This may in part be down to unhelpful Patriarchal models presented by some Religious teaching, and also a reaction against the hyperbole, expectations and expense of some weddings.
The Bible teaches that marriage is part of God’s design for humans to be in a loving, trusting, faithful and committed relationship, where children, and their parents, can thrive.
Every relationship has it’s ups and down. It’s normal.
Sometimes a rough patch can go on for a long time, and that can be very difficult.
You may be tempted to walk away from a marriage, but it’s not an easy thing to do, whatever the media may want you to believe. There are deep emotional bonds and there will be pain, which can leave deep scars.
If you are experiencing abuse of any kind then seek help and support to make good choices so that you, and any children, stay safe. https://www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk/
If you’re struggling with your partner because of on-going problems in your relationship then it will be worth trying to turn those struggles around. They can be huge growth points for you individually and as a couple.
FamilyLife offer events and resources to help those of all faiths and none. We are a faith based charity and believe that God can and will help, because he loves us.