Good relationships are often hard to find. Whether a long-lasting marriage or a new dating relationship which shows tremendous potential, when you find a good relationship you should do everything in your power to keep it good.
Unfortunately, while a good relationship is hard to find, it is easy destroy. As a pastor, I'm often amazed at how easily people ruin something that is good. On a regular basis I sit and listen to people who desperately want a good relationship. Sometimes they want it so bad, they foolishly get into a bad relationship because their desire for a relationship outweighs their wisdom.
So while some are jumping into bad relationships or longing to be in good relationships, others are carelessly throwing away great situations because of their poor decision-making.
Here are five ways to ruin a good relationship:
1. Feel as though you deserve your partner (or someone better)
Entitlement is deadly. The moment we think we deserve our partner, we are on a slippery slope toward justifying both inaction and inappropriate behavior. A good relationship should give birth to gratitude (and gratitude often gives birth to a good relationship).
While we shouldn't believe our partner is better than us or out of our league, we should only be in a relationship with someone we deeply respect which should prevent us from believing we are better than our partner.
2. Make the relationship all about you
Some people are more in love with the idea of love than an actual person. The greatest sign that is the case is when one person makes the whole relationship about them. They want all the privileges of being a boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife, but they don't want any of the responsibilities of those roles.
The last place a selfish person needs to be is in a relationship with another person. If you can't submit your dreams and desires to another person, you have no ability to be in a healthy relationship. A relationship should always be about "us," and never about "me."
Feelings come and go. Whatever you feel today, you likely won't feel the exact same thing tomorrow. In bad relationships, people only do what they feel like doing. If they don't feel in love, they don't act loving. If they don't feel forgiving, they don't forgive. If they don't feel like being nice, they aren't nice.
A healthy relationship requires discipline - doing what is right even when you don't feel like it. Without discipline, a couple will be tossed back and forth by whatever one party is feeling in the moment. Volatile relationships are rarely good relationships.
4. Ignore your current season of life
Life has seasons. You don't wear a swimsuit in the winter and you don't need a heavy coat in the summer. In the same way, a young couple in a good high school relationship shouldn't act married and a long-time married couple shouldn't act like they are fifteen.
When a couple ignores the season of life, they ignore the responsibilities of that season. Just because a relationship is good, don't rush it to the next stage. Just because your marriage is happy, don't fight against the advancement of time. Act your age, live your stage, and a good relationship can become better. Ignore your current season of life, and you will ruin a good relationship.
Good relationships are made. They happen for specific reasons. They don't just occur without any effort. Show me a great relationship which looks easy and I'll show you two people who have put a good deal of effort into making that relationship good.
Most assumptions are dangerous, but few assumptions are more dangerous than thinking we have a relationship figured out. We never have it all figured out. Every good couple is in a continual pursuit of more knowledge, understanding, and ability. The moment you think you have arrived, you are starting to die.
I know a lot of people who long for a good relationship. If you are one of the lucky ones who is currently in a relationship with a good guy or good girl, don't be foolish. Recognize your good fortune and do the work necessary to keep the relationship good.
Kevin A. Thompson is Lead Pastor of Community Bible Church, a multi-site church in Fort Smith, AR. He currently writes a daily blog focusing on leadership, marriage, and parenting (specifically parenting a child with special needs). Along with his wife, Kevin is co-owner of JThompsonMMC, a full-service media and marketing company based in Fort Smith. He is a graduate of Beeson Divinity School of Samford University and Oklahoma Baptist University. Kevin is also the author of "Friends, Partners, and Lovers—What It Takes to Make Your Marriage Work.