How to mend a broken relationship

From a British dictionary, the word relationship means the state of being connected or related; the mutual dealings, connections or feelings that exist between two parties, countries, people et cetera. To most of us though, this definition doesn’t seem to say it all simply because there are many more other ways to define relationship depending on our personal dynamics and experiences.

The Japanese have a term, kenzoku, which literally means “family.” The connotation suggests a bond between people who’ve made a similar commitment and who possibly therefore share a similar destiny. It implies the presence of the deepest connection of friendship, of lives lived as comrades from the distant past.

Many of us have people in our lives with whom we feel the bond described by the words above. They may be family members, a mother, a brother, a daughter, a cousin or a friend from high school with whom we haven’t talked in decades. Time and distance do nothing to diminish the bond we have with these kinds of friends. However, relationships can be sweet in their course or actually have a sour taste when things fall apart.

In this piece, I am going to share practical ways through which we can repair a broken relationship. You might be in a situation of giving up on someone you used to care about, or a situation where you are tired of being on the giving end all the time, or in a state where your hurt is so deep that you get fed up with people, or in a situation where you feel misunderstood and taken for granted. You have probably tried so hard to sustain it, but it doesn’t seem to work; things don’t make sense anymore. You used to have common interests, but they are so divergent now; you used to share common values, it’s just not the same today; the history that bonded you together no longer holds any meaning. I understand how that feels because I have been there too. But I want you to know something today; there are ways to bring back that relationship to normal, it will actually be better than it was before.

If you have a relationship that is in trouble, you must first decide whether that friendship is worth rescuing and if you are willing to take the necessary steps to make it right.

The legendary Greek philosopher Aristotle once said “what we have to learn to do, we learn by doing”. This piece is offering a few practical steps of action to restoring your relationship. The first step is to admit wrong; begin by taking responsibility for your role in damaging the friendship. The second step is committing to change; promise to make the changes that are required and be faithful to carry out your commitment. More importantly, don’t defend yourself; the goal is to seek forgiveness, not excuse your behaviour.

If you really care about this relationship, then ask what you can do to heal the relationship; this opens the door for suggestions from the other person. Give your friend an opportunity to say what needs to be said, then listen and do what you can to mend the relationship. In my personal experience, I have also learnt to let others win, if I am certain that it will benefit me in return.

I have a great feeling that very few people will agree with me that it’s not always about the win-win rule in a relationship, sometimes we need to let others win. American nature essayist John Burroughs once said that, “one resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this; to rise above the little things”. Develop patience and forgiveness; Scriptures in the book of Ephesians chapter 4 verses 2 say “be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love”.

Do to others what you would want them to do to you; Apostle Paul wrote to the Hebrews in chapter 10 verses 24 and said “let us consider how we may spur one another toward love and good deeds”. I was earlier reading a certain piece and found an interesting paragraph from which I extracted this quote from an American film producer, actor and entrepreneur, David Gere. He explained about his life and said “I was raised to show respect. I was taught to knock before I open the door; say hello when I enter a room. Say please and thank you, and to have respect for my elders. I would let another person take my seat if they needed it; say ‘yes sir’ and ‘no sir’, and help others when they need me to, not stand on the side-lines and watch. Hold the door for the person behind me, say ‘excuse me’ when it’s needed and to love people for who they are not for what I can get from them and most importantly, I was also raised to treat people exactly how I would like to be treated by others”

Do you have a troubled friendship that’s worth saving? If you do, don’t hesitate to do what it takes to repair your bond, for a relationship that has gone through the healing process can become one of the strongest anchors in your life. These lasting friendships are hard to find and ought to be treasured.

Great friendships don’t just happen, they are built and nurtured.

The author is a graduate student of sociology at the University of Pennyslvania, USA, a Communications Specialist, and a preacher of the Word of God.