In order to have a healthy Christian relationship, you must be emotionally healthy. You must also partner with someone that is seeking God for themselves and has the same commitment as you to growth. Without healing we bring in emotional baggage from friendships, childhood, family, school, etc. Then, we bring in codependency, control, passive-aggression, jealousy, bitterness, etc. These emotions will slowly kill your relationship.
I entered into relationships and friendships as a people pleaser, codependent, enabler, and with a lack of identity in Christ. I was also unaware of the toxic traits of others. Let’s just say, I was SHOCKED and BROKEN by my dating experiences. I thought it was the other people’s fault because they were controlling, manipulative, etc. However, I realized that my own people pleasing, codependence, and need to make everyone else feel good was just as TOXIC!
My journey to breaking generational patterns and receiving wholeness in Christ has been eye opening. I had to learn how to love myself, trust myself, listen to God, value my opinion, understand my personality, stop people-pleasing, remove pride and entitlement, end codependent habits, and learn healthy coping mechanisms.
But, it doesn’t have to be like this. I could’ve healed, sought mentorship, and allowed God to direct me. God can give us “wisdom” to avoid toxic relationships. Broken marriages can also be healed when both partners allow their selfish nature to die and allow God to heal, prune, and refine them.
I explain more of my journey in these articles:
- Why does God make us wait when it’s painful?
- What is the purpose of LOVE? What Is Love? How does it feel?
- Empaths Attract Narcissists; 3 Keys To End Cycle
- How I Removed Painful Memories Of Him Breaking My Heart
What is a Healthy Christian Relationship?
A healthy Christian relationship involves a man and women who are equally yoked, steadfast, perseverant, and committed to being purified, edified, and intimate with God.
7 Qualities of a Healthy Christian Relationship:
- Intimate: passionate about seeking your heart and God’s heart
- Equally Yoked: both believe in the key foundational pieces of Christianity
- Committed: committed to God and righteousness despite emotional highs and low
- Perseverant: seeks to be vulnerable with you and God during the hardest situations in life
- Steadfast: one who is stable about having a Godly relationship and doesn’t flip flop
- Purified: stripped of hidden sin and submits to daily cleansing
- Edified: encouraged to be a true Ambassdor of Christ
How to Have a Healthy Christian Relationship
1. Let GOD Heal You
To deal with pain most of us create a wall around our hearts to keep all intruders out – Including the counsel of the Holy Spirt. To feel better we tend to ESCAPE the pain by avoiding God and the problem. This is the only way we can deal with our pain when we don’t surrender it to God. We aren’t capable of fixing the brokenness in our hearts. Healing our hearts is Jesus’ job, not ours. We will ALWAYS fail when we try to do a job we aren’t qualified to do.
We squirm around in our pain. We blame God for our pain. We blame others for our pain. We escape the pain and numb with drugs, sex, television, food, gossip, anger, daydreaming, adventure, and other things that bring temporary ecstasy. But, “hurt people hurt people.” Eventually our pain can’t stay hidden and it will manifest in codependency, victim mentality, gas-lighting, blame-shifting, etc.
Let down your walls and let God heal you. The truth is you can’t love yourself or the people in your life fully if you’re unhealed. And, the more you love and understand yourself will help you others well.
Related Article: Dying to Self: 6 Ways to Crucify the Flesh!
For Married Folks: Many people enter into marriages without any knowledge of their own brokenness and unhealed generational patterns. I often hear: “What happened?! They had such a good relationship.” And I know deep in my soul, they had unhealed and unaddressed issues that they both avoided. Unhealed emotions show up immediately in some marriages and in some it comes up slowly. If you haven’t been stripped of pride and other hidden heart impurities, you haven’t experienced the full transformative power of Jesus Christ.
For Single Folks: Relationships with two people that are broken tend to cause more brokenness. It is best to avoid romantic relationships till you have the tools to manage your emotions. This doesn’t mean we can’t be in a relationship while we are growing. It just means that a relationship is easier when we understand ourselves, what makes us tick, and how to get ourselves back to sanity without the help of our romantic partner.
2. Equally Yoked Relationships Matters
Christians in an equally yoked relationship are both passionately seeking to become secure in God, stay In relationship with God, learn their identity in Christ, and submit to the disciplining & refining process of the Lord.
If your partner isn’t invested in getting to know God or they’re not a Christian, that’s could present a huge problem later on. If you’re not married yet, I suggest speaking to a biblically sound mentor for counsel (not your friend) on potentially ending the relationship. If you’re married and your spouse won’t go to church, you can read this #1 tip for when your spouse won’t go to church.
For Married Folks that married before they were saved, here is a Testimony of healed Unequally Yoked Relationship.
3. Emotional Wholeness Matters
So many of us are unhealed, then enter into “Christian” relationships with unhealed people… Then, we shut God out from the relationships. Sure, in the beginning we tend to think everything is okay even though we felt something was wrong. But, when you notice that you or your partner don’t have the same desperation for Jesus… And, when the pain of unhealed traumas comes to the surface and raises HELL in your “Christian” relationships we do something even worse – We hide from God.
Such relationships are centered on damage control and fixing the broken relationship. According to urban dictionary, Damage control means: “an attempt made to correct or rectify a situation that went wrong.” What fun is that?
To make it even worse, within those relationships we need the other person to make us feel beautiful, happy, loved, less lonely, secure, etc. Can you see how this causes a problem? They become our idol and source of every thing. We are engaging in a codependent relationship if we become dependent on someone else to make the pain go away and to fill our emotional needs.
And it doesn’t stop there. Many people also enter into relationships with trust issues, fears, and other deep rooted issues. Pain unhealed will manifests as toxic traits in the relationship such as control, manipulation, codependence, victim mentality, toxic shame, self sabotaging, etc. But, when God heals us we are able to put down these defenses that keep us safe. We won’t have to guard our hearts by ourselves.
We can let go of our false idols and defenses when we allow God to protect us in relationships. God wants us all to heal, but the truth is many avoid the pain with shiny things. One of the major “shiny things” for many of us is the lure of another “humans’ love.” Actually, most people place relationships as their IDOLS when they trust, love, and depend on their partner more than God. Ugh.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
God is the source of love. If we hide from God our tanks will go empty. Other people are not meant to make us feel good, needed, complete, special, or wanted. God is the key to receiving the true source of happiness & love.
4. Experience Amazing
What if, God never intended for us to be living to just fix problems? What if he wants us all healed up inside so we can make good decisions and live good lives? Well that isn’t a theory it’s actually a fact, He wants us to have AMAZING relationships (a taste of Heaven). This is a piece of the GOOD NEWS of the Gospel. God gave us the holy spirit to help lead us away from toxic emotions and to walk into purity. we would be able to TRULY enjoy our romantic relationships. Wouldn’t that be nice?
When we submit our emotions to God for healing we can avoid the destructive cycles in relationships. Cain and Able’s story is a perfect depiction of this. In Genesis, when Cain was jealous of His brother, God appeared and warned that his heart would ruin his relationships. “Why are you angry,” said the LORD to Cain, “and why has your countenance fallen? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you refuse to do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires you, but you must master it.” Genesis 4: 6-7
The truth is, God wants us to defeat toxic emotions and generational patterns that keep up stuck in back relationship. We have to move away from blaming God for our choices and start taking full responsibility for bad decisions in dating. So often, we date the wrong person or make the wrong decisions because we are lonely, settling, controlling, impatient, etc. But, regardless God is good and will help us clean up the mess of any situation if we surrender it to him… For he LOVES to show mercy to us and forgive us when we seek his face.
5. Mimic the Love of Jesus Christ
If you want to enjoy healthy christian relationships you must try to be like Jesus. He was the type of person that everyone wanted to be around. The type of person that you would go near feeling horrible and leave feeling transformed and better.
Too often we are more focused on our needs and overlook our partners needs. Or, we are not patient in their growth process and fail to demonstrate gentle kindness, patience, hope, and love. Jesus didn’t care about his selfish desires. He literally lost it all and DIED for his true love (YOU). He was more concerned with honoring God and bringing others into the healing power of God.
Jesus is patient. Jesus’ love is an example of how love provides a safe space for people to grow and mature. Think of the humility and vulnerability of Christ. He died for us, knowing that we were sinful or had “wrong” ways of thinking/behaving. He did not force us to have his opinion. He came to earth to show us that he UNDERSTANDS why we are having such a hard time with sin. He understood our perspective so much that he knew that we needed his example to show us how to overcome sin and love others properly.
He didn’t force the disciples to believe he was the son of God. He loved them into his perspective. He showed them over and over what true love looks like. He did not get mad when they questioned his motives or did not love him in the way he deserved to be loved.
Through his loving behavior the disciples eventually realized that his LOVE was truly unconditional and beyond human understanding. This is the love we are called to. A love that does not force people into doing what we want. But a love that gives people the freedom to know we are on their side and will love them regardless of being “right” or “wrong”.
Until we are able to have relationships that don’t serve our flesh…. Both people will be fighting to meet selfish needs. Both people are called to selflessness which produces a true heavenly relationship.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:3-11