Five Sign-Posts of Healthy Relationships – the 5 P’s
We have developed a set of checkpoints for creating safe, compassion-based relationships: “The 5 P’s” that protect our relationships from violence, manipulation, and shame and allow them to grow and flourish. If you are in a relationship that has become unclear, tense, or in conflict, one or more of these areas needs attention.
PEACE: an atmosphere and heart posture of calm and trust; not trying to control another person’s heart or process yourself.
We build all relationships from a place of peace with God, ourselves, and the other person. Peace rests on forgiveness: we identify and release any relational debts we have been holding onto from abuse, hurt, or neglect. What areas of unforgiveness are we harboring? Are we willing to empty the backpack of debt stones we have been carrying around?
From the freedom of forgiveness, we then ask if there is any impediment to peace between us and decide how to remove it. When we come to rest in the relationship, we do not need to control or manipulate it ourselves.
PATIENCE: waiting for what you need to see and understand about another’s heart before deciding how to respond.
When our hearts are at rest in peace, we are not anxious about the foibles and missteps we each make along the path. We may each have different entitlements to release or unprocessed experiences to address, and we can wait for each other without judgment or shame. We are free to walk together as we discover what we need to see, and we can provide wisdom or care.
PROCESS (Pace): submitting to the mutual order and pace we each take in developing the relationship.
We are all at a different place in our life journey. Walking in peace and patience allows us to match the unique pace of our relationship with each other. Our relationship growth has elements that need to be in place from the beginning of our journey and some that develop throughout our sanctification.
We have our own stories, experiences, and discoveries shaping who we are and how we got here. Those come with their own set of issues and emotions to work through. Our relationship journey honors the process we walk through and allows us to come to a mutual pace.
PURPOSE: understanding and submitting to our function and role in the relationship, given our various gifts and personalities.
Our relationships need a clear understanding of our roles with each other, why we are pursuing the path we are on, and why we are doing it together. Our roles need to be defined by the purpose of our relationship and the type of relationship.
Relationships in our family have expectations and boundaries: husband/wife, parent/child, siblings, grandparents, extended relatives.
Our relationships with our coaches and mentors, those we mentor, disciple, teach, and guide ourselves, need more input from each person to set and agree on roles and expectations. When we understand why and how we pursue relationships, we can establish the freedoms and boundaries to sustain them.
PERMISSION: ask, do not assume that you have permission to explore another’s heart, reveal your own heart, or provide a perspective about the relationship.
Listen and ascertain another person’s willingness before processing a confusing or painful aspect of the relationship. A meaningful way to prevent damaging a relationship and keep it from becoming an emotionally dangerous place for interactions is to avoid assuming we have permission to speak or act according to our desires.
Seeking permission from the other person for spiritual, emotional, or physical connections removes self-orientation, truncating our entitlement to autonomy. It also honors the process and pace of the other person. We need to proceed with care and wisdom as we share and explore the heart realm.
Once a level of intimacy is established, and permission has been granted for specific actions, we can discuss together how often this needs to be reestablished. A newly married couple might assume they have blanket permission for unrestrained physical activity, that any area of their heart and experience is open for discussion, and that their partner is ready and willing to hear all they have to say at any moment. Those assumed permissions do not take long to create tension and conflict.
An awareness of the need for permission maintains a safe and free environment for relationships to develop and flourish with shame. Ask the question: Do I have permission to raise this issue or vent my emotions now? This is the communication process. Are they ready to hear what I have to say or process right now?
As we journey through the path of conflict toward restoration, our ability to recognize and mitigate damaging words and behaviors will create a safer place to hear, understand, and bring compassion back into our relationship.
We will spend much of this year focusing on various aspects of our response to conflict. Let us know if we can speak into that need in your life or business.
If you haven’t had a chance to listen to our recent podcast on this topic, you can check it out here:
To Your Health!
Q&A for this topic:
- How will you incorporate the 5 P’s into your thinking about relationships?
- Which of the 5 P’s is the most natural for you or the most challenging?
- Who do you go to for support with your relationships?
- How will you make future conflicts more productive?