Learning from relationships

Relationships offer a wealth of learning opportunities which prepares us for future life experiences. They provide us with real world training in how to better interact, nurture, grow, and flourish as we engage other people in our life's path. Learning from relationships is essential to our own personal growth and development, and in determining the quality of our relationships as we mature.

Every interpersonal interaction establishes some type of relationship, and there is something to be gained from each. Whether personal or professional, family or friend, emotional or platonic, or good or bad, we learn what we like or dislike about each relationship experience. As we change through the growth process, so do our relationships, as does the value that we place on them.

Every relationship has a purpose. Though the purposes will differ from one relationship to another, each relationship is valuable in the overall scheme of our journey through life. We place values on our relationships based on their importance to us at any given time. Our relationship with a banker becomes more important when we depend on his approval for the mortgage on our first home. Just as the relationship of a high school sweetheart, who at one point we never thought we could live without, seems insignificant on our wedding day with the most wonderful person we met six years after graduating from college.

Romantic relationships tug at our hearts. Though family relationships can also touch us emotionally, few things move us as deeply as our romantic interactions. Learning form these types of relationships are often a challenge. They can take us through emotional extremes, from highs to lows, depending on the relationship experience. But they are also the relationships that we tend to learn from most.

Romantic relationships can be emotionally exhilarating when things are going well. Though every relationship has its share of ups and downs, we place greater value on those past relationships which give us the greatest joy. From them, we learn to share emotionally, to engage our passions, to explore our sexuality, and to grow within the realm of a relationship as opposed to simply as an individual.

We learn to extend trust, but when that trust is broken, we learn to exercise caution. We learn to forgive, but not necessarily forget. And also learn how important it is to be forgiven, because as perfect as we may be, we learn that we may not be perfect in every relationship. We learn what makes us feel good about relationships, and we learn what we will no longer accept. We learn that another person's idea of a great relationship may not be great for us.

Most of all, we learn the importance to commitment. We learn how to hang in there when things get rough, and sometimes struggle through situations that lead us to greater life experiences. We learn to be humble when it's in the best interest of the greater good, and how to soar as we expand our relationship's horizons.

But we also learn that some relationships end. And when they do, we pick up the pieces and move to the next. We learn what things to take with us as we move on, and what things to leave behind. We learn what worked, and what didn't, and what we never want to experience in our future relationships. We learn that in order to expect the best, that we must give our best, and that the success of our relationships is greatly dependent upon us.


Tammy said...

I am grateful that I have a great relationship with my husband. We have been married for 11 years and have dealt with a lot of things that most couples would have a hard time with. We learn from our choices, good and bad. We work hard on keeeping our marriage strong.

Terry Marsh said...

Thanks for your comment, Tammy. We all have to make adjustments in relationships, but learning from our mistakes creates growth.