No relationship can ever be better until you are better. Because you are the most important part of any relationship, any real improvements must first take place within you. Improving yourself improves your relationship. Don't worry about the other person. Who you choose to be in a relationship with is a by-product of how you feel about yourself. So even if you are currently in a relationship, you can make it better by being better yourself. You are what you attract.
First, to improve your relationship, you must take an honest look at yourself against yourself to determine if you are "relationship healthy." This is different from your normal health because it involves you spiritual, emotional, financial, and physical well-being. How do you measure up in the areas for trust, honesty, communication, and commitment? How are you at anger management or conflict resolution? Do you have a healthy spiritual relationship with God? Are you financially responsible? Improving on any or all of these areas will improve your relationship.
You must also examine the choices you have made throughout adulthood. Is your personal life in order? What is your relationship like with your family and friends? What is your relationship like with your mother? What is your relationship like with your father? If you are not able to sustain a healthy relationship with family and friends, what does that say about the potential for a healthy intimate relationship? Brokenness inside of you will result in some form of brokenness in all of your relationships.
Second, the other principle in the relationship must be measured against themselves. How do they honour their words? Have you witnessed them being dishonest with others in your presence? Do they honour their commitment with others? To determine if a person will be respectful in their relationships, you must consider the fact that their respect for others is governed by their respect for themselves. If a person is not honest with themselves, they will not be honest with others, and ultimately, they will not be honest with you. Be careful with this measurement. Before you turn the mirror on them, you must complete your self-evaluation. You may be the one bringing the most conflict into the relationship.
Finally, each of the principles in the relationship must be measured against the word of God. Don't use yourself as a guide. If you have been dealing with counterfeit relationships your whole life, you may not know the real thing when you see it. Also, you are who you attract so neither of you will be qualified or capable of evaluating the other. Let God be the measurement, and evaluate each other on how you respond to God and to his word. When a man or a woman honours and keeps God's word, they are living at a standard greater than themselves. This is the true test of honesty, spiritual, and relationship maturity.
Improving your relationship is hard work. Healthy relationships require two healthy people. You or the person that you are interested in may not be relationship ready. You must first evaluate yourself, if you are not relationship healthy, you should not be in one. You cannot build on a shaky foundation. Once you are healthy, you will be able to see the real from the fake and determine respect from disrespect. You will know that if a person has no respect for God, the creator, they will have no respect for you the created.
Timothy Houston is an author, minister, and motivational speaker who is committed to guiding positive life changes in families and communities. For questions, comments or more information, go to www.tlhouston.com.