Whether you are married, dating, engaged or single, exclusive, monogamous, cheating or playing the field, you are in numerous relationships. You relate to people all day long—be they kids, friends, co-workers, family or the barista at your go-to coffeeshop. How you relate to them determines whether those relationships will create happiness or drama.
Peruse your local bookstore and you will see shelves lined with books on relationships: How to be in relationships, how to end relationships, how to start relationships. I even saw one that talked about how to manipulate relationships. The majority of these books focus on the external factors of relationships—where to meet people, what to say, perhaps even what to wear. You could follow all this advice to the letter–wearing the right clothes, speaking with the right accent, even buying the right gifts, but you could save yourself so much time and energy (and sometimes money) if you would just steer clear of the biggest and most common relationship killers.
These 3 deal-breakers will kill a relationship faster than a monkey choking on a banana. Do them at your own peril. Avoid them to your own advantage.
Relationship Killer #1: Unhealed Hurts from Past Relationships
You’ve heard the conventional wisdom—the best way to get over a break-up is to start dating someone new. Except, it’s not. Healing, grieving, reflecting or rejoicing are all crucial steps to finding more joy and satisfaction in future relationships. There really is no fast-forward button to help you get over a broken heart.
You know you can smell a person who person who is carrying baggage from previous relationship a mile away. The woman who rips into her new husband because he didn’t pick up his sock, clearly has some unresolved issues from past relationships. So does the guy who stalks his new girlfriend on Facebook because his previous 16 girlfriends cheated on him. Those past relationships may be over but the residual issues still cling to that person.
Do you prioritize your own healing? And do you choose partners or friends who make the effort to address their issues? You may think you do—perhaps you just left a job with a controlling, overbearing micromanaging boss, so you step into a new job with vows about things you will NEVER let happen again.
The problem with vows is they don’t allow the new relationship to be unique and mature organically. It is established and maintained based upon past your dislikes. Even though you vowed that you would never let those conditions take root again, the fact that you are making those undesirable traits the basis of your new relationship, you are essentially planting the seeds for them all over again.
Relationship Killer #2: Assumptions
Making assumptions about the people you are in relationship is a recipe for disaster. This means assuming anything—thoughts, motivations, moods. The odds of you being a master mind-reader are slim—so many of us can’t figure out what’s going on in our own lives half the time.
Many people will say, “Well Kris, you don’t know how badly I’ve been burned in the past. I have to be able to make assumptions or I may get burned by this person. To which I say, refer to relationship killer #1. If you are making assumptions about a person who has not proven to you that they are worthy of your trust, your relationship is destined for death.
Relationship Killer #3: Communication, or the Lack Thereof
Communication is the only thing that keeps you connected to other people. Nowadays we have communication at our fingertips. It’s practically impossible to be out of communication even if you want to be. Our phones even tell us when someone reads our text.
Think back when you were a kid and you played the game telephone. You would talk to the other person through a can and a string, and all you could make out were a couple of grunts and a few mumbles.
Despite our advanced technology, that’s how many of us talk today. With a lack of communication, guess what you are left with? Relationship killer #2. If you don’t clearly express yourself, you leave the other person almost no choice but to make assumptions.
Relationships are precious. We are wired to be in fellowship with each other. Avoid these common killers and you’ll be leaps and bounds ahead of potential problems.
Kris Reece holds a Ph.D. in Christian Counseling and a Master’s Degree in Theology. As a Christian Life Coach, Personal Development Coach, Counselor, Author and practical Bible Teacher, her passion is to help others unleash to discover their potential and become everything they were created to be.