So how do we know that the relationship (s) we have are healthy or not? Let’s take friendships first. Look at the Book of Ruth. Ruth and Naomi were two women who show a mutually supportive, healthy relationship with one anther. When you’ve got time, read Ruth 1:1-18; it sets the context of the passage. During a time when famine happened, a widow (Naomi) took her daughters –in—law to Moab to get food. Although Orpah goes home after Naomi convinces her to, Ruth stays with Naomi. Verses 9-10 show there is a deep affection between these women for one another and they have a healthy relationship that shows through their faithfulness, love, and compassion for each other in a difficult time.
Another Great example of a healthy relationship is David and Jonathan in 1 Samuel 19:1-7. This was a deep friendship. This was a deep relationship so much so that the text later says, “I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women (2 Sam. 1:26). Many modern scholars will cite this to prove David and Jonathan had a homosexual relationship. This however is not a reference to homosexuality, but rather to the depth of healthy relationship. Saul was rejected as King of Israel by God, and David was next in line. Jonathan, Saul’s son, stood by David and supported him, even through his days of hiding while Saul pursued David to kill him. The depth of this relationship is demonstrated by the fact that Jonathan sought to protect David, while at the same time worked to reconcile the broken friendship of Saul and David (1 Sam. 19:4-7). Jonathan risked his own relationship with Saul to support David who he knew would be King (23:17). Now that’s a TRUE FRIEND!
What about a romantic relationship? What does that look like? You can check out the ultimate guide in the Song of Solomon that covers God’s design for attraction, dating, conflict resolution, marriage, and sex. Because it would take too long, I’ll let you read that on your own, and we’ll use another biblical example of a healthy romantic relationship. The ultimate gauge of a healthy, God-centered romance is stated in 1 Corinthians 13—affectionately called the “Love Chapter”. It tells us that if we have the kind of love between us that God desires in a dating/ marriage, that it will be patient, kind, and not envy. Godly relationships do not boast, are not proud , are not rude, are not self-seeking, are not easily angered, and keep no records of wrongs, God’s relationships does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth. In a true relationship, love always protects, always hopes, always trusts, and always perseveres. That is the standard to put against any relationship. If it doesn’t meet some (or any) of that criteria, it’s probably not a healthy relationship.
In a healthy relationship, the two people will not isolate themselves form everybody else. They won’t spend all their time on the phone, and mope when they can’t talk to one another. They will be able to carry on conversations with other people. They won’t necessarily center the world around their relationship. That’s not healthy. They won’t HAVE to be around each other 24/7. Now I know that when you are in a deep relationship you will want to spend all your time together. That’s OK, just make sure boundaries are set up to make sure that you don’t become an “island” if you will, separating yourself from friends and family. That is not healthy. Also, if a relationship forces you to change yourself to be better compatible with the other person, that is DEFINITLEY not healthy. God created you to be you, not someone who is something you are not.
Next week we’ll look at some of the “Warning Signs” of unhealthy relationships. Again, these aren’t necessarily romantic, but cover family and friends also. Take this week to see if your relationships are healthy. Just something to think about. – Scott