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Relationships are hard and we are desperate to see change. However, we tend to focus on the actions of others and forget that change often starts with the man in the mirror – ourselves.

Photo by Fares Hamouche on Unsplash

A tree is known by its fruit. An apple tree produces apples, while lemons are found on a lemon tree.

The same is true in our life and relationships. We can discern the affect our presence has on others by the fruit produced.

What is it like to be in relationship with you?

Does your presence bring more love and kindness, connection and beauty into your world? Or, does your presence lead others to be more frustrated and exhausted, disconnected and hurt?

Our natural tendency is to focus on the shortcomings of others when things are off in our relationships.

If only she didn’t nag so much…

If only he were more considerate…

Rarely do we consider our own contributions – how our actions might be producing the very bitter fruit we want to avoid and that we blame others for.

For example, our well-meaning attempts to control others because we “know best” might lead them to become resentful. Instead of the good we want to produce, anger and distance is the result.

Likewise, passively going along with others might lead only to more nagging and bickering instead of the desired peace we hoped for.

Discern the fruit. If your relationships are filled with pain and heartache, what is your contribution?

While others certainly have their part to play, we can initiate change and produce better fruit in our relationships by confronting ourselves.

The man in the mirror is always a great place to start.

To move toward better in your relationships, take a look at yourself, and then make a change.

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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