Strategies for Successful Relationships: Overcoming an Enemy

Written by Lynette Hoy NCC, LCPC

As we look at relationships today we have to ask: what has gone wrong? From Columbine to child abuse to divorce, we watch as rage, betrayal, seduction and selfishness destroy lives and relationships. Marriages are falling apart, unhappy and conflictual. Families are abusive, strained, distant. Friendships are superficial, fragile and lack accountability. Business relationships are characterized by distrust, tension, competition and jealousy.

While relationships can seem formidable and difficult we still desire to be connected and enjoy great relationships – even in the workplace! What does it take to relate with others in a meaningful way? How can we personally overcome -anger- that enemy which causes so much relationship distress!

All of us have experienced anger. Some of us have cringed under the rage in our families, struggled with it in our souls, felt it toward our friends, co-workers and loved ones. Some of us have shocked others with volcanoes of anger. The evidence abounds that we live in a mad, mad, mad world. Statistics report:

  • •23% of Americans openly express their anger.
  • •39% say they hold it in or hide it.
  • •23% say they walk away.
  • •23% confess to having hit someone.
  • •17% admit they have destroyed someone’s property out of anger.”

(Resource: What’s Good About Anger? by Lynette Hoy and Ted Griffin)

Practical strategies for handling anger:

When a co-worker says harshly: “You didn’t let me know you were going to lunch early and I ended up taking all the calls!” or

When your boss states indignantly: “You didn’t finish the contract and now, we’ve missed the deadline!”

Rather than lashing out in anger, defensiveness or concealing it, you can pray for Christ to help you respond with a gentle answer, and assertiveness such as:

…”I am sorry that you had so many calls while I was gone. I did mention to you that I would be going to lunch early this morning. Any ideas on how we can avoid this situation in the future?”

…”Say more about the contract deadline please? I understood the deadline was tomorrow.”

When you are able to control your anger, it may help defuse the other person’s anger and promote respectful dialogue. Take a risk this week and ask God to turn your anger into a gentle assertiveness. Learning strategies to overcome anger – a prime relationship enemy – will get you further down the road to success in all your relationships.”

You are not in this alone. If you are looking for someone you can place your trust in, a foundation to build upon, you can find that safe place whether you’re in a relationship right now or not. Place your trust in God and his promises. Anchor your life to the hope that he brings.

He is the well deep enough to draw from when you need peace, hope and wisdom, insight and love, endurance and faith. He gave His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for all our sins. Everyone feels unworthy sometimes, but God thinks you’re worth it—even worth the death of His Son.

You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer. Praying is simply talking to God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. Here’s a suggested prayer:

Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be.

Does this prayer express the desires of your heart? You can pray it right now, and Jesus will come into your life, and forgive you of your sins forever, just as he promised.

This article originally appeared in the Godly Business Woman magazine Fall, 2002 issue.

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