What Destroys Relationships and What Builds Them Podcast Notes

Over the course of my 31 years I’ve learned a few things about what works in my marriage to Jilane and what doesn’t work. For example…

With Jilane, sentimental cards don’t work. I used to spend hours at Hallmark finding cards and writing romantic notes. I leaned that sentimental cards don’t work. But gift cards, they work. Especially Nordstrom gift cards, right ladies?

I have learned that Victoria’s secret lingerie as a gift doesn’t work. Flannel P.J’s work, but lingerie doesn’t work. She says that’s a gift for me, not her.

With Jilane, going to the movies doesn’t work. If we have a night away from the kids she doesn’t want to spend it sitting in front of a movie screen. She wants to talk. She doesn’t necessarily need me to talk, but she wants to talk.

In 20 years of marriage I’ve learned that going to the movies doesn’t work, but watching old romantic movies does work. And it’s always the same movies. Emma. Sense and sensibility. Pride and prejudice. Really, any romantic movie where they all speak in British accents will work. “Pleased to make your aquaintence my dear.” Under that criteria you’d think James Bond would work, right guys. There is love and British accents. But somehow it does fit my wife’s criteria.

I’ve learned that camping doesn’t work. My wife doesn’t mind sleeping under the trees as long as it’s the DoubleTree. Hotels work, but camping doesn’t work. She’ll sleep on the roof of a church in Haiti, but here in the states it has to be 4 stars or above

In 20 years of marriage I’ve learned that romantic lines don’t work, but I have learned that vacuum lines work.

Selfishness Destroys Relationships

Property Laws of a Toddler.

1. If I like it, it’s mine.
2. If it’s in my hand, it’s mine.
3. If I can take it from you, it’s mine.
4. If I had it a little while ago, it’s mine.
5. If it’s mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way.
6. If I’m doing or building something, all the pieces are mine.
7. If it looks just like mine, it’s mine.
8. If I saw it first, it’s mine.
9. If you are playing with something and you put it down, it automatically becomes mine.
10. If it’s broken, it’s yours.

Five years of the married cold.

The first year. “Baby darling, I’m worried about that sniffle. So I’ve called the paramedics to rush you to the UCSD Hospital for for a checkup and a week of rest. And I know you don’t like hospital food, so I’m having gourmet meals brought in for you.”

The second year. “Sweetheart, I don’t like the sound of that cough. I’ve arranged Dr. Knotts to make a house call. Let me tuck you in bed.”

The third year. “You look like you’ve got a fever. Why don’t you drive yourself over to Rite-Aid to get some medicine. I’ll watch the kids.”

The fourth year. “Look, be sensible. After you’ve fed and bathed the kids and washed the dishes, your really ought to go to bed.”

The fifth year. “For Pete’s sake, do you have to cough so loud? I can’t hear the TV. Would you mind going in the other room while this show is on. You sound like a barking dog.”

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. James 4:1-3

Selflessness Builds Relationships

Selflessness means that instead of putting yourself in the top spot of your relationships, you put others there.

Do you know the people that get the most birthday cards? Do you know who they are. They are the ones who give the most birthday cards.

Pride Destroys Relationships

The bible makes it clear that pride is a relationship killer

When pride comes, then comes disgrace. Proverbs 11:2

Pride only breeds quarrels. Proverbs 13:10

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18

A man’s pride brings him low. Proverbs 29:23

Pride shows up in a lot of different ways in our lives. Let’s talk about a few of them

It shows up in criticism. If you are critical of other people, if you tend to be judgmental of other people, if you are a picky perfectionist, you have a pride problem.

It shows up in competition and comparing. Look at her clothes compared to my clothes, look at his car compared to my car. If you are always comparing yourself to other people in your neighborhood or at work, you have a pride problem.

If you have shallow relationships and you keep everything superficial. If you like to keep people at arms distance so that they don’t see your mistakes and failings, then, guess what, you have a pride problem.

Edward Hallowell writes that for most people the two most powerful experiences in life are connecting and achieving. Connecting has to do with our relational world. Falling in love, spending time with family, building friendships. Achieving has to do with our own accomplishments- winning contests, pursuing career success or realizing a difficult goal. Hallowell points out that Our society is increasingly devoted to, obsessed with, and enslaved by achieving, and increasingly bankrupt and impoverished when it comes to connecting. I believe that is a pride problem.

Pride destroys relationships but humility Builds Relationships

All of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it. I Peter 3:8,9

I didn’t read this story on the air but it’s awesome. It’s about a true act of humility by one husband. John Ortberg

One day when we had three children under the age of five we were taking a long drive. All of the children were asleep, which meant my wife, who was normally home with them all day, had a few golden moments of silence. What’s most embarrassing for me is that when we go for a long drive, the person who has to make the most pit stops all the time is me. Everyone else in the family has a retention capacity that is frankly inhuman. It’s like traveling with four camels. At one point I said to my wife, “I have to make a stop.” “No you don’t,” she said. “The kids are all asleep. If you stop this car, they’ll wake up. I’ll lose this quiet. If you love me, if you’re any kind of a man, you won’t stop this car.” I held out as long as I could (thirty seconds) then stopped at the next service station. I quietly got back in the car and gently eased the door shut. Click. But there was the tiniest little stirring in the back seat. “The baby’s awake,” my wife said. That’s all. Three words, then silence. But do you think she was just passing me neutral information about the baby’s state of consciousness? When you know someone well enough, you learn to read between the lines. “The baby’s awake. He wouldn’t be, if it weren’t for you. There would be peace in the valley, if it weren’t for you. I, their mother, who am at home all day with three children pulling me, tugging me, chanting ‘mommy, mommy, mommy’ as if it were some eastern mantra- I would be experiencing a rare moment of quiet serenity if you had the retention capacity of a six year old.” All that in three words: “The Baby’s Awake”

A few months later, we were on another marathon journey, this time through the deserts of Arizona. The kids were asleep. I had made the mistake of purchasing and consuming a 44-oz. Big Gulp ice tea. Nature took it’s cruel course. “I need to stop” I said. “I need not to stop,” my wife said. “I have a passionate, burning need to stop. Believe me, if there was a way not to stop, I wouldn’t stop.” We had been down this road before. But this time, Nancy broke the cycle. She empathized with my situation and got a horribly creative gleam in her eye. She came up with a solution that could accommodate both our needs and have a clear win-win outcome. She handed me the now-empty 44-os. Big Gulp cup. “You promised.” The story ends with these words, “Greater love hath no man.”

Relationships are built with a thousand humbling moments. Maybe not quite that humbling, but humbling. Taking a moment to admit you made a mistake. Cleaning the house alone after a hard day. Doing the dishes when it isn’t your turn. Saying to your teenager “You were right and dad was wrong.” Admitting a character flaw to a friend and asking for accountability. Revealing your fears. Relationships are built on such humbling moments. Pride destroys relationships but humility builds them.

Resentment destroys relationships

We’ve all heard the phrase, opposites attract, right. That’s true isn’t it. Until you get married then opposites attack.

A stone is heavy and sand is weighty, but the resentment caused by a fool is even heavier. Proverbs 27:3
Resentment kills a fool, and envy slays the simple. Job 5:2

Fredrick Bruechner wrote “That of all deadly sins, resentment appears to be the most fun. To lick your wounds and savor the pain you will give back is in many ways a feast fit for a king. But then it turns out that what you are eating at the banquet of bitterness is your own heart. The skeleton at the feast is you. You start out holding a grudge, but in the end the grudge holds you.”

Forgiveness Builds Relationships

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:13

Ann Lamont put it like this. “Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and waiting for the rat to die.”
I need to forgive because God is willing to forgive me.