Welcome back to the final post on our Super Seven Life Paradoxes! If you’ve stuck it out this long, you’ll know that we’ve only got one left for today, though it’s a big one. This last one is really the capstone, so we’re going to take our time to go over it, and to bring this whole thing together as a whole.
7. Prioritize relationships above all… and invest daily.
Our last couple of points have been all about what you put out into the world. Doing your absolute best, being intent only for good, committing to love or God. If you think about it, these all come down to one thing: relationships. Most people seem to agree that loving relationships are the most important thing you can have in life. But more than that, just about any sort of genuine good you might put out into the world has to go through the medium of relationships.
You could say that this is where the rubber meets the road. It’s one thing to talk about all of these previous life lessons in isolation, one thing to make private resolutions to yourself or throw 100% into a day at work on your own time and initiative. But making commitments to other people is where things get difficult—because it’s only then that you’ll really be held accountable.
I think it’s too easy to get in the habit of treating relationships like a checklist, like you have to do X, Y, and Z, and that entitles you to something from the other person, whether it’s their time, emotional fulfillment, sex, or something else. I was certainly guilty of that during my first years of marriage to Hope. I never said an unkind word or raised my voice in anger, but I also wasn’t investing in her the way I should have. A lot of the time, I treated her like a maid or a mother. I guess I thought that as long as I was earning our income, I was fulfilling my end. But that's treating what should be a love-based relationship like a business deal.
When I talk about investing daily in relationships, more than anything else, you have to avoid thinking of it like a business deal (which is ironic, since “investing” is a business term). Remember that happiness comes more from what you do than from what you have. Well, this is what you do. Look every day for what you can do to express love to the people in your life. It doesn’t have to be something dramatic or deeply personal. It can be as small and simple as eating a meal together, provided it’s done with the right intent.
I think one reason why people get caught up with thinking in “business deal” terms is that we naturally look for a way to quantify things, and real love defies quantification. It cannot be possessed, is never finished, and at least in my opinion, cannot really be earned. Real love can only be given freely, and we forget this at our own peril.
Have a blessed, wonderful day!
Dr. Alex Loyd