I admit I am not always intentional about creating strong relationships and connecting with the people I love and care about. I can get caught up in the busy of life – the clanging gong of urgent matters- and let day and sometimes weeks slip by without reaching out and communicating with friends and loved ones.
The other night, John and I were too tired to even chat over dinner. We ate in front of the TV with barely a word shared, other than “can you turn it up?” I am not even sure I said “Please.”
We do have the luxury of an empty nest lifestyle- no interruptions from kids needing food, homework help, refereeing, or chauffeuring – but sometimes we get lazy knowing we can always chat tomorrow, and then tomorrow comes and we are still tired, burnt out or busy.
Our kids are grown and involved in their lives and we are thrilled for their adventures and independence. We were intentional about not being smoother parents and have done our best to let go and give them space. We text and call them at times, but for the most part, we wait till they call or text us.
However, at the risk of being over engaged, I think I have dropped the ball. I need to be willing to call and text and reach out, even if their response is “I’m busy.”
It’s hard to be the one who pursues, reaches out, makes the effort in a relationship, when we may be rebuffed, rejected, or even politely indulged. I trick myself into thinking they know I care, that I am here for them.. but today I realized, I haven’t been communicating this well.
We can set goals for our actions – not for peoples response to them. I am only responsible for me; my choices, actions or lack thereof.
Goals are targets we aim for. If we aim at nothing, we will hit it every time. I can’t tell you how many good intentions of: I should call her, send a card, reach out , text and say I’m thinking of them – fly through my head without follow up.
My grandma used to say ” the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Sometimes, I fear my road is wide, expertly paved with no pot holes.. smooth and fast from years and layers of good intentions.
I need to pause, take time to act on these thoughts and be intentional about connecting with people I care about. The time is fleeting and I have never meet anyone who regrets spending too much time building strong relationships.
Maybe this means:
- taking time in the middle of the day to recharge, so I have energy for my hubbie in the evenings
- turning off my phone and focusing on family conversations
- scheduling dates and activities as diligently as I do appointments, rather than assuming they will happen. (they rarely do, as something fills the time)
In 32 years of marriage, and being a mom for 29, I have learned that if I am not purposeful about relationships, they stagnate or suffer. I admit it isn’t always easy, or convenient, but I know it’s necessary. Good things, important things require time, energy, focus, investment and sacrifice.
Even when we don’t feel like it!
I’ve discovered that setting goals for how I want to be intentional in building strong relationships is helpful. They give me a road map for engaging, a reminder to focus and move me from good intentions to action.
What does being intentional about relationships look like for you? Do you set relationship goals? If so, what are some of them? How has this improved your relationships? What are some ideas to help others grow strong relationships- especially in the crazy busyness of life?
Please share in the comments and let’s chat!