This time of year, reminders of romantic love are everywhere. Heart-shaped boxes of chocolates fill grocery store shelves. Maybe you hear Adele on the radio and become a bit misty-eyed about a break-up.
But many kinds of relationships, not just romantic ones, fill our lives year round. Healthy relationships are a vital element of our well-being. Although having good relationships you can count on isn’t always easy, it is definitely worth the effort.
One secret ingredient to add to your relationships is faith.
Faith in Yourself
We’ve all heard the adage, to love others you need to love yourself first. Loving yourself can admittedly be hard, but having faith in yourself can make it a little easier. When you believe in yourself you develop confidence. As your confidence increases so does your ability to connect meaningfully with others.
Having faith in you is a good habit that you can carry into all kinds of relationships.
Faith in God
Believing in God can also enhance your relationships. Knowing that you have worth in God’s eyes lifts your self-esteem. Your value is not based on what someone’s opinion of you might be for that day. When you don’t look to others to validate and accept you, you are freer to love and appreciate others.
“The light of faith is capable of enhancing the richness of human relations, their ability to endure, to be trustworthy, to enrich our life together.” -Pope Francis
Believing that others have worth in God’s eyes has the potential to improve your relationship with them, too. It is easier to treat someone kindly when you start to recognize their true worth. Their concerns start to matter to you because you see them in a fresh way.
Faith in Others
Even when you recognize someone’s worth, they can still disappoint you or let you down. That’s when faith in others matters. Faith has the potential to improve communication and soften judgments. Giving people a break and trusting in their good intentions can make a huge difference in how you perceive and act toward them.
Try to set aside criticism each day and look for the good in the other person. What is she getting right? Appreciate the effort the other person puts forth, even if it falls short.
Faith in a Relationship
Connecting to someone, even someone you know really well, takes faith. It takes faith to start dating someone. Sometimes it even takes faith to believe you can have another relationship after one ends.
Withdrawing into yourself can be a natural reaction to not trusting others or being caught up in your own problems. Consciously trying to look outside of yourself and connect with others can be challenging, but it becomes easier with practice and as you start to see the benefits. Reach out and discover what someone else has to offer.
Faith in the Future
Having faith in someone, yourself, or a situation takes patience. Whether your relationship with your sibling could use a little TLC or if you’re (sometimes impatiently) waiting for your Mr. or Mrs. Right, sometimes it seems like things might never change. You may even want to give up. Don’t! Good things are ahead if you will just hold on a little longer.
Reaching out in faith to God can offer great hope for the future. Pope Francis wrote, “Faith is born of an encounter with the living God who calls us and reveals his love, a love which precedes us and upon which we can lean for security and for building our lives. Transformed by this love, we gain fresh vision, new eyes to see; we realize that it contains a great promise of fulfillment, and that a vision of the future opens up before us.”
Love takes a lot of faith, time, and effort. Life is much richer with it than without it. Go ahead, have a little faith. You might be surprised.
Want to read more?
Faith as a Relationship
5 ways faith strengthens family
The Light of Faith, Pope Francis