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Hospitality typically refers to the friendly and generous reception of others. As an industry, this includes restaurants, hotels, and any other related services that seek to care for customers with a high standard of excellence. And, on a personal level, this might include how we welcome others into our home. Relational hospitality takes this same standard of care and applies it to our interpersonal relationships.

To be sure, leaders among God’s people are called to be hospitable. But this should not be limited to simply inviting people into our home. Part of our hospitality is how we treat and care for those we are in relationship with.

For instance, this can start by simply creating the space for others to be heard. Taking the time to truly listen to what’s on someone’s heart and mind is a priceless gift of hospitality.

Likewise, sharing our own vulnerabilities creates a welcoming atmosphere for others to open up as well. Relationships tend to remain shallow and sterile when we’re always hiding behind our respective fig leaves.

We can also practice relational hospitality by intentionally considering ways to bring good to the other. Here we might learn and speak each other’s love language. For example, bringing our wife her favorite drink just because, proactively finding time to hang out with a friend, or thoughtfully affirming the uniqueness of each kid goes a long way in providing relational care.

Whatever it looks like, relational hospitality is simply the practice of allowing others to feel seen and personally cared for in our presence. It’s providing personal attention and creating an environment that others can feel at home, let their guard down, and find the space to rest relationally.

An ache of loneliness remains when we can find more hospitality by going out to eat than in relationship with each other.

In the end, practice relational hospitality and allow those you are in relationship with to experience your generosity and care for them.

Photo by Jonathan J. Castellon on Unsplash

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist - providing Christian counseling and soul care to individuals and couples, with a special emphasis on developing the masculine soul. Suwanee, GA 30024

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