You are not alone. I've been there and countless women throughout the world and throughout history have been there too.
But there's good news. Your history doesn't have to define your future. Our ability as Christians to adopt the mind of Christ gives us the ability to override our default outcomes and create something more wonderful than you can currently imagine.
The biggest challenge you'll face is the discomfort of developing new relationship skills so that your future has the opportunity to be different.
In this episode, I'm walking you through the seven relationship skills that go into establishing trust so you can go into your next relationship with confidence in yourself and a valuable skill set that is essential in a quality relationship.
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Forever Love Podcast Episode #16 | Transcript
Hurt people hurt others.
Hurt people hurt themselves.
This was a hard pill to swallow as I watched the pain on his face morph into grief.
Of course, he wasn’t the first person to be disappointed by my unruly behavior, but this was the first time I felt that pain too.
Things seemed easier when I didn’t care.
If I upset people, that was their problem.
But now, I was being denied the one thing I wanted at that moment more than anything else, and I had no one to blame but myself.
Sure, I could blame my parents for my chaotic childhood and for failing to give me the stability and love needed.
I could blame the world for being hard and fallen.
I could blame God for not stopping me.
But none of the blame would restore what I was losing right before my eyes.
I was losing his trust.
And more importantly, my trust in myself.
The marble jar had smashed, and I was cutting myself up, trying to put it back together again.
Do you have regrets?
Join the club.
When we are out of integrity with our core values, the consequential emotion is most often regret.
You see, my core values are Love and Integrity.
I didn’t know that then, but I did know that what I had done was so off base from what I value that something had to change.
I had to change.
I had to become the next version of myself. I had to become the version of me that is capable of upholding my own values.
To do that, I had to learn how to establish trust, first with myself, then with others.
I believe that trust is one of the most relationship skills we can develop. It’s not the only one we need to have successful healthy relationships, but it opens the door to all the rest.
I’m Lily Mtongwiza, and I help women date deliberately, court with confidence, and pursue their God-given desire for a Christ-centered marriage.
I want to thank you for joining me today. It’s an honor to be able to share my stories with you and encourage you to write your own.
In today’s episode, I want to talk about relationship skills.
- What they are
- Why we need them
- How to develop them.
My goal in this episode is that you will maybe gain some insight into why your romantic relationships have failed in the past, but more importantly, you’ll see the importance of committing to developing your relationship skills.
Healthy Christ-centered marriages require three things. First, they need a solid foundation in Christ.
But a foundational relationship with Jesus alone does not make for a great marriage.
Next, you need great relationship skills.
If we imagine preparing for marriage like building a house, then Jesus has to be the solid rock foundation upon which we build.
Then we need to construct walls and put in windows and doors.
Those are the relationship skills, like trust, boundaries, communication, playfulness, understanding, integrity, and faithfulness.
Finally, we need to cover our house with a roof, and that is love.
Because as Peter said, love covers a multitude of sins.
And since you won’t be marrying a perfect person, you will need love to cover you when you or your partner mess up.
When you have all three parts coming together, only then will you be able to enjoy a healthy, Christ-centered romantic relationship.
A lot of women these days are standing on the rock waiting for a man to come and build the house around them.
Others have built these big beautiful gazebos with wonderfully broad roofs but no walls, and so when men come into their lives, they believe that love will be enough to make them want to stay.
For most women, their relationship with the Lord and their ability to love comes relatively easily.
But if you want a relationship that is structurally sound and secure, you can’t neglect your responsibility to develop your own relationship skills.
The good news is these relationship skills are transferable and stackable.
That means if you master them in one area of your life, you’ll be able to use them in any area of your life.
So if you learn how to have healthy boundaries with men, then you’ll also be able to have healthy boundaries with your mother, your boss, your hairdresser, and your best friend.
Relationship skills are also stackable, which means that when you combine them, their impact is so much stronger.
For example: If you have communication skills, that’s going to make having a healthy relationship much easier. But if you combine communication skills with boundaries and playfulness, you’ve got a winning combo that can withstand whatever life throws at you.
When you continue to uplevel your relationship skills and continue to add new ones to your repertoire, your ability to enjoy a healthy relationship continues to expand.
Trust is what makes a relationship structurally sound.
It’s the basic framework of the relationship house you’re attempting to build as you pursue your God-given desire for a Christ-centered marriage.
Now, you and your potential partner are going to need to construct the building together, but imagine that you’re each responsible for bringing half the lumber.
Brene Brown says there are elements of trust.
Now let’s break these down so we can see how each of us is responsible for showing up with our best quality lumber.
Remember, marriage matters.
Healthy marriages are the backbone of healthy societies.
When we rush into marriage for the wrong reasons hoping that the love of someone else will cover for the things we feel are going wrong in our lives, we’re building these unstable structures that might look pretty on Instagram for one hot moment but quickly break down, are deserted and eventually condemned.
So if as I go through these seven elements, you realize that you’ve got some work to do on your own, please give yourself the time and space to do that.
Just like you should only marry a man who has put in the time and effort to be emotionally and spiritually healthy and mature, you should only pursue marriage if you’re truly prepared as well.
Your willingness to put in the effort up front will be well worth it when the storms of life inevitably roll in and start shaking your house.
That’s when we find out what we’re really made of.
So let’s start with boundaries.
Boundaries are like the windows and doors in the house. Windows and doors are really what separates a house from a storage unit.
Windows and doors give us the freedom to come in and out, see in and out, and open and lock them.
They provide a sense of security, but they’re also a week point.
When our windows and doors are broken and our boundaries are violated, alarm bells go off, and we know we need to do something to stay safe.
But some people don’t like the sound of the alarms, so they build these big gazebo structures and then ignore a lot of red flags.
I’m speaking from personal experience here.
I went through a really self-destructive phase in my early 20’s where I pretended to be okay with everything and anything, thinking that this way, no one could hurt me.
They say you can’t rape the willing, but as I consented to a lot of questionable things, I certainly raped the integrity of my soul.
Women in the church have been systematically taught to surrender everything and give all they have without hesitation, and this is wrong.
You need to have boundaries and you absolutely need to be able to say no.
Because if you can’t say no, you can never authentically say yes either.
Next, let’s talk about reliability.
Reliability means following through on commitments.
How many times have you made plans that would help you move forward in your pursuit of a Christ-centered marriage but bailed at the last minute because you no longer felt like it?
Reliability starts with being able to override that part of the brain that always wants to cancel your plans in favor of staying warm, comfy, and safe.
This can show up in a variety of situations, like when you make plans to go to the gym or call your mom. Do you follow through or put it off until later.
When you set goals, are you reliable? Do you push through the discomfort of achieving something, or do you give up and blame your circumstances?
Reliability is the flooring of your house.
So learn to let your yes be yes, and your no be no.
Next, we have accountability.
Accountability is like the siding or shingles of the house. They protect the structure underneath.
Being accountable means being able to own your mistakes, apologize, and then improve your behavior.
Next, we have the vault.
This is the security of the house, the locks, and bolts.
Do you keep private things private? Or do you use it for gossip?
Do you protect the parts of yourself and others that are vulnerable, or do you exploit them?
For example, if you’re dating a man and he shares something very sensitive with you, what do you do with that information after the relationship ends?
Do you use it for gossip, share it on Facebook, or find some other way to use it to get attention from others?
If so, be honest with yourself so that you can grow.
Many of us, myself included, have a habit of exploiting our own vulnerabilities in these twisted one-up games.
“Oh, you think that’s bad? You should hear what happened to me.”
Learn the value of keeping certain things private with this IMPORTANT Exception.
Do not hide information that puts another person at risk.
There doesn’t need to be any conflict in your mind or heart about what the right thing to do is when someone else’s safety or well-being is at stake because of a secret you’re keeping.
And if you’re going through a healing process and you need to talk with a professional about what has happened to you, then please do so.
The next of the seven elements is integrity.
Do you choose what is courage over comfort? Are you willing to stand up for yourself, others, and what is right?
Are you practicing BEING Christ-like or merely ACTING Christ-like?
Integrity is the walls of any relationship.
If there are cracks in the walls, the house may become inhabitable.
Next, we have nonjudgement.
This is like having clean air in the house.
Judgment is like this toxic smoke that gets in the way of us being able to see and understand one another.
Whenever there is conflict in the house, judgment rises up and fills the space chocking out both people.
The solution is to use Empathy as your fire extinguisher.
To see one another and yourself the way Christ sees you.
Finally, we have generosity.
In a romantic relationship, being willing to extend the most generous interpretation of your partner’s motives is really important.
Making space for one another to be human and make mistakes allows a relationship to develop and thrive.
This is often really challenging because, on the one hand, we genuinely want to believe the best about ourselves and our partner. On the other, we’re desperately afraid of making excuses for bad behavior and ignoring red flags.
This is why it is important to have all seven elements present in your relationships.
First, focus on your relationship with yourself.
When you have developed these seven skills with yourself, then you can not only identify them in others but also show up to the relationship ready to build something that is lasting and true.
Now, these are not the only relationship skills that you can acquire, but they are the most foundational and where you should focus your energy first and foremost.
Other skills like communication, playfulness, gentleness, and faithfulness are either extension of the seven we talked about or add ons like curtains, carpeting, and wall paint.
They add flair and personality to the house and make it unique and special.
But we don’t want to try and cover up a cracked wall with a bit of pretty paint, so make sure you put first things first as you develop your relationship skills.
Transition to closing
Now, one of the most common questions I get asked when I talk about Relationship skills is... Okay, Lily, but where do I start?
And the answer is with Self Love.
Because the only reason to develop your relationship skills is that you actually care about yourself and the future you’re creating.
The greatest act of self-love is accepting Jesus as your Lord and savior.
When you recognize that God loves you and decide to embrace that love.
We love Him because He first loved us.
Next, you need to discover your core values because these will give you a better understanding of who you’re looking for and what you want to offer in a romantic relationship.
To help you, I’ve created the Free Relationship Starter Course.
In this three-day mini training series, I’ll walk you step-by-step through the process of honoring your desire for marriage by knowing who you are in Christ, what your core values are, and creating an irresistible offer.
I work with women who want to co-create a Christ-centered relationship with Jesus by learning how to tune into the still small voice within them.
The next step for you is to go to Proverbs 24 26.com / Start
And sign up for this free course.
Whether you’re single as a pringle, shy as a mouse, or ready and raring to go, this Free course this course will help you develop the personal awareness and confidence you need to pursue your God-given desire for a Christ-centered marriage.
And when you sign up, you’ll also be invited to my private Facebook group filled with more amazing women who are honoring their God-given desire for marriage too.
Don’t let confusion, doubt, and overwhelm stop you from enjoying all the love you long for. You don’t have to wait for a relationship to make you feel better. You can begin enjoying an abundance of Christ-centered love today.
This FREE course comes with printable worksheets to help you get clarity around who you are in Christ, and all you need to do is sign up at proverbs 24 26 that’s 2,4,2,6, .com / start, enter your name and email, and your login information will be immediately sent to you.
By the end of this 3-day course, you will be feeling more confident in your identity in Christ. You will have far more clarity about what you want, and you will be excited about what you have to offer in a romantic relationship.
Create a warm fuzzy feeling.
When I realized that I had a relationship skill deficit, I leaned into one of my strengths to help me recover.
I’ve always been a bookworm and a lover of information, so it wasn’t long before I found myself spending all my free time in the library pouring over titles or in the thrift stores searching for second-hand copies of books that would help me become the next version of myself.
But reading alone won’t make a difference. Information without application is useless.
The real transformation happened when I started living into the new ideas I was acquiring.
I remember walking home one night and having to choose between indulging in an old habit and lying about it or enduring the discomfort of temptation.
I wanted a cigarette.
I was tired and alone, and no one would know any different either way.
I knew I was going to see Lovingson later, and I could brush my teeth and change my close, and he would never need to know.
There were so many ways to justify it.
Why should I change who I am just to make him happy? I thought.
Becoming who you’re meant to be, happens in the quiet, uncelebrated moments that no one knows about.
When I chose honesty over the self-indulgent pleasure of a cigarette, what I was really choosing was the future I wanted to make possible overall my default settings.
When I quit smoking in 2013, and I gained a brand new marble jar in which I could start collecting the memories and moments that bring me true and lasting joy today.