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Late Night Conversations: Relationships and Life (Part One)

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

On Sunday night, following packdown, we found ourselves immersed in discussions about relationships, stories of origin, the mysteries of things that do and don’t end up working out. (I was just sharing about the early days of meeting my wife Jen, how we connected and so forth.) We even ventured into the risky territory of “relationship advice.”

It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve tried my hand at such things.

The Nuts and Bolts of Life

My friend Malcs once told me, in regard to messy relationship complexities, “These are the nuts and bolts of life.” I thought that was true.

When I was fresh faced and young(er), I had a revelation: “Life is all about people!” Of course, I laughed at myself for stating something so obvious. Nonetheless, it dawned bright and fresh like the early morning. Life is about people!

Key Takeaway: The essence of life lies in the people we interact with and the relationships we form.

Have you ever stopped to consider how your relationships have shaped your life?

This basic and simple observation gets to the nuts and bolts of things and it’s helpful to think about relationships in that context.

We Can Get Better at Relationships

The term “relationships” describes how we “relate” to one another. In fact, it’s a connector phrase, so it goes beyond interpersonal use in its usefulness.

We want and need to be “good” at relationships. Life is about people, and the complexities of human relationships of all kinds require us to become skilled, compassionate, wise, and forward-thinking as we relate to one another.

Key Takeaway: Growing healthy relationships requires skill, compassion, wisdom, and forward-thinking.

What qualities do you believe are most important for building strong relationships?

Romantic Relationships, Briefly

Within the broad umbrella of relationships, romantic ones form a unique subset. They often come with their own set of challenges and complexities, and despite taking my time to get to it, that was, in fact, what our packdown chats were about.

But it’s helpful to note on the way in, that life is about people. Romantic relationships exist between people. The problems and mysteries we face in these spaces get into the nuts and bolts of life.

Key Takeaway: To a certain extent, romantic relationships can help us to understand relationships more broadly, and vice versa.

What are some challenges you’ve faced in romantic relationships, and what have you learned by facing them?

Some Reflections

I’m going to leave it there for now, and I invite you to reflect on the following: How are you doing in your relationships? In what ways would you like to grow in “the nuts and bolts” of life?

What do you feel when I say “Life is all about people”? Do you agree? Do you disagree? How would you nuance it?

Finally, reflect on one of your close relationships at the moment. How might God be inviting you to “be” in that relationship? It’s empowering to remember that, although relationships can be messy, you can take responsibility for YOUR part in a relationship. And there’s always room for being proactive, positive, and loving.

Key Takeaway: Reflection and personal growth play a crucial role in nurturing and improving our relationships.

When was the last time you reflected on your personal growth in relation to your relationships? What did you discover?

Share Your Thoughts

If you’re in the mood for thinking out loud and creating some conversation, feel free to drop a comment or two below. I’d love to hear your thoughts on relationships and the ‘nuts and bolts’ of life. Until next time, take care!

Tom Mepham

Tom Mepham is the full-time minister of Student Soul. He received his Diploma in Ministry from the Knox Centre of Ministry and Leadership in December 2019, prior to which he graduated with a Bachelor of Theology from Otago University in 2017. He is a member of the Southern Presbytery, part of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand. Tom is also a writing and performing musician and you can keep up with his explorations at his website.

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