Identifying and establishing healthy relationships

Informational post: we have just discovered a series of articles called Identifying and establishing healthy relationships. They are based on 1 Tim. 3:1-5 and are very good.

21 thoughts on “Identifying and establishing healthy relationships”

  1. Thanks Bekah and Barb. That is a very good list. This is a great post and a subject that needs to be out there, to inform people that they do not have to stay in dangerous and harmful relationships. I’ve found establishing boundaries has really helped me in my life not only in leaving my abusive husband, but in “friends” and yes even some family members with whom I had harmful relationships.

    Biblically based books like “Boundaries” and “Safe People” by Henry Cloud and John Townsend have helped immensely.

      1. Now Free…. That is such a similar story to my own. It was so shocking to realize that I had been in so many unhealthy relationships that I could not even recognize a healthy one. 😦 It was almost too much to have my eyes opened so drastically! And then, I almost had to wean myself from the drama….make sure I did not touch the hot stove again, just to see if it was hot.

        What you said about making wise decisions about who can be helped and who cannot is really key. It takes supernatural wisdom and lots of thought for me to make those types of decisions (and often an email to Barb or Jeff). Surely this is what Jesus means about being gentle as a dove and wise as a serpent. It takes more effort than I could have imagined but is so vital for healthy relationships!!!

      2. Once I had gained clarity in finally realizing the severe abuse I experienced from my husband of many decades, I could see people in my life that were also abusing me…spiritually, emotionally and financially. Then I set up boundaries. Those boundaries helped me to see myself in a different light. I was being used and abused by many of these people for decades. God helped me to set up these boundaries and helped me experience freedom and to chose who I want to be friends with, to spend time with.

        Then I read “Boundaries” and “Safe People.” Those books provided a huge amount of validation and understanding of people. I did not need to carry the burdens of these people. I was doing them no favours by carrying their burdens when they could help themselves. I was under a tremendous amount of stress in doing so, and combined with the stress of living with and dealing with my abusive husband, this stress was almost unbearable.

        This isn’t to say not to help others, but to chose who you feel you are able to assist.. Sometimes I come across individuals who have problems and refer them to those who are able to and are certainly more qualified than I would be.

    1. Boundries was an eye opening book for me as well. In breaking them and needing to use in my life. Great book! !! Everyone should read it. Starting in schools. It would bless kids.

  2. So encouraging to see from scriptureI CAN/ SHOULD stay away, get away from my manipulative ex. Very encouraging today!

  3. This is excellent in helping me see that the Bible really, clearly teaches us who are healthy for us and who are not. Thanks for sharing the link!

  4. Excellent post! The Boundaries book really helped me to see how it was not okay to allow certain behaviors into my life and how to respond to people that had destruction behaviors. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done with living with an abusive spouse. And the one time I brought the subject of boundaries up to a Christian woman I knew at the time she said the bible never talks about boundaries and that it is not acceptable to set them in our lives. I was shocked and her words stayed with me for a long, long time as I struggled in a marriage where my ex walked all over me and had absolutely no empathy for me or our children.
    Now I know better and actually can see very clearly when someone around me has destructive characteristics, and I’m very quick to either set boundaries if possible or simply walk away.

    1. Amy, I was also told that the Bible doesn’t talk about setting boundaries.

      Ironically, it was made by a man who (as far as I can see) does an excellent job setting boundaries with his wife (in a positive way- for example, in Bible study when she disagreed with something he said, he would not be argumentative- she had her own opinions and he supported her doing so- they were always respectful of one another and comfortable being different people with their own identities and views); I think sometimes when boundaries come naturally to folks they have trouble seeing the value of them when other people have to work at it.

  5. Another good book to get on angry and controlling men and the abusive mind set is a book by Lundy Bancroft who worked with abusive and angry men in the States for 25 years and was one of the co-directors of ‘Emerge’, the first US program for abusive men.
    It can bring up some strong emotions, however is names the behaviour and smashes the myths of enabling and co-dependency, which only makes the victims continue to be victimised. I am currently writing a Christian book on removing the snares from our souls, because violence, abuse and anger ensnare the soul of the victims as well. Jesus has the answers and this book is the result of 6 months of spiritual boot camp with God. Him showing me the what and then the how of walking free from abuse and stop the cycles in our childrens lives. A word of wisdom from a sign i saw outside a church a few years ago; ‘it is better to be alone than in the wrong company’.

    1. Thanks Michelle, yes we heartily recommend all of Lundy’s work. And yes, it can indeed bring up strong emotions, but the recovery and clarity gained is very much worth it in the end.
      Welcome to our blog.

  6. That list in 2 Tim 3:5 used to prick me every time I read it, because it was obvious to me those characteristics described the person I was supposed to be the closest to in this worldly life. How in the world could I have stayed away from him if the church’s teaching was clearly one of the permanence of marriage? Still not sure how the average church leader normally addresses that.

    I, too, relished the Boundaries books by Cloud and Townsend. There was, however, confusion, brought about by their assertion (in Boundaries in Marriage) that divorce is not a boundary. They insist that they are referring to boundaries within relationships, and that divorce ends a relationship. So they propose setting limits by talking to the person, setting our concerns, putting down the limits graciously, monitoring and then increasing or decreasing the limits.

    Well, did that expose me to more abuse! Every time I talked to him, there was psychological torture. Eventually, monitoring his behavior simply drained me and did nothing to improve things. When I turned to Boundaries for more clues, their bottom line was that at the end of the day, if the boundaryless person is resistant, we can still hold on to our boundaries and protect ourselves by staying away from the difficult person and finding our joy in the Lord. They claim that the other person may even initiate divorce, thereby freeing us from that burden. But what happens if the other person doesn’t? Isn’t there any acknowledgement of the “inevitable harm” that occurs by sharing your life with a boundary-resistant character? Or more importantly, any acknowledgement of the Scriptural instruction to stay away from these people?

    1. Anon, can you please write a full review of the Boundaries book? We would like to publish it as a post on this blog. It would be great if you could include what you have said here, and elaborate more as well.

      This topic is worth a post on its own. So readers: if you have further comments to make about the Boundaries book, please refrain from adding them here. It would be better if they were added to a post that was entirely focused on that book.

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