What would Jesus do? is a phrase and question that most of us have seen on a bumper sticker, button, or T-shirt or two. Hopefully, the question has guided at least a few people toward making a good decision over the years. Perhaps a similar question may inspire each of us to step up our game on the relationship level: what would a great partner do?
Many of us base or justify our relationship conduct on what our partner is doing or has done, our job, or whatever else we can blame our actions on outside of ourself. “I did this because he/she did that,” many of us say. Or “My job requires this of me.” Or even “The children are the priority, not you.” This may be fine if our actions are improving the culture in our relationship. But when we are creating a deteriorating culture in our relationship, it’s a problem.
There are also those of us who are not only responding or reacting to our partner’s patterns or behaviors but are also functioning out of ignorance.
We have no idea what a great partner would do, so we do whatever feels appropriate. We genuinely do not have a concept in our head of what principles, actions, and efforts embody a great partner. The qualities, the attributes, the considerations. We don’t know. Therefore, we are meandering and reacting.
Finally, there are those of us who have a reasonable concept of what a great partner would do, but we betray it or ignore it. In this case, ignoring is the same as betraying because being a great partner is an active assignment. Ignoring the work that must be done in our relationship is turning our back on it because relationships require effort and work. Loving relationships don’t happen passively.
They ask that we have a prize to reach for and a vision that guides us. And we must revisit these markers periodically to keep us on track, reasonable, and accountable.
Wisdom abounds. It is all over the place. It is in many of our elders. It is in books. It’s on television. However, it is also in each of us. It’s in there, and we have the opportunity to tap into it and allow it to guide us. One of the ways to tap into that personal wisdom is to ask ourself, What would a great partner do?
A great partner may give their time, counsel, comfort, acknowledgements, help, concessions, advice, listening ear, or quiet companionship. These are some of the characteristics of a great partner. These are some of the actions we may resort to when we are asking ourself what a great partner would do. The aforementioned are some of what are often considered to be the more positive actions.
But a great partner may also resist, yell, ignore, and impose. The details and our sensitivity in any situation are important, and they make the difference. One of the critically important attributes of creating a loving culture in our relationship is going first. When we are aware of a way to improve the consistent exchange of love in our relationship, we get to be the first person to implement it. And respectfully, we get to ask ourself this question every day. We get to do a better job of something today than we did yesterday. Because that is what a great partner would do.
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Frank Love coaches individuals toward creating a loving culture in their family. He is also the author of Relationship Conversations You Don’t Want to Have (But Should Anyway) and 25 Ways to Be Loving. To schedule a free consultation, contact Frank at Frank@FrankLove.com.