5 Words That Can Make Your Relationships Better

Picture one of your relationships–preferably one you’d like to improve.

Got the person pictured in your mind?  Good.

What if just five words could increase your odds of having a healthier relationship with that person?

What if those same five words could help you have healthier relationships with everyone?

And, what if these five words weren’t something you said to the other person, but words you said to yourself?

Want to know what these five words are?


Let me explain.

Good relationships don’t happen by chance, they happen by choice.

Good relationships don’t happen by chance, they happen by choice. Click To Tweet

And, usually, it’s not the big choices that make the biggest difference in our relationships, but the small, almost imperceptible ways of relating we chose again, and again. The choices we don’t think about. The choices we just do.

Essentially, we make relationship choices based on one of two factors:

  1. Instinct
  2. Insight.

What’s the difference?

Instinct thinks, does it feel good right now? Insight thinks, will it produce good in the long haul?

How do I know if I’m operating on instinct?

For starters, instinct doesn’t consider outcomes. Instead, instinct operates on habit and emotion.

A few weeks ago, JP and I were having one of those discussions. In the heat of the moment, I started to respond one way, but the words, Donna, don’t forget: your choices affect your chances, flashed through my brain. Like neon lights on a dark night, the message was impossible to ignore. It was a signal to slow down, weigh my words, and consider the outcome I desired for our discussion.

And for our relationship.

One of the greatest misconceptions of our time is, “if it feels right, it is right.”

In Ephesians 4 we find real-life wisdom for real-life relationships (Read it. It’s a great chapter!)  Essentially, we’re instructed to stop doing relationships the world’s way (instinct) and start doing relationships God’s way (insight).


Because the world’s way doesn’t work. Not in the long term, anyway.

Want to know why?

Ephesians 4:18 explains, “They (the unbelieving world) are darkened in their understanding…” The word translated, “understanding” is the Greek word “dianoia”, which is similar to our English word, diameter. Remember high school math? Diameter is the distance from one side of a circle to another. Stay with me here, because this is the key to your better relationship–and you’re going to love it! 

Dianoia (understanding) is defined as: movement from one side of an issue to the other to reach a balanced-conclusion; it is thinking that literally reaches across to the other side of a matter.

Translation: wise, godly understanding–the kind that enhances my chances of experiencing healthy relationships–looks at how what I do today affects the quality of my relationships tomorrow.

Wisdom thinks things all the way through.

Wisdom thinks things all the way through. Click To Tweet

In other words, my choices affect my chances. This truth leads me to make choices fully aware that…

  • The way I communicate with my spouse today will shape the connection we experience tomorrow.

So, I will talk to my spouse kindly and clearly, because my choice to communicate better now affects my chance of closer connection in the future.

  • The extent to which I listen to my toddler today will determine the extent to which my teenager talks to me tomorrow.

So, I will put down my cell phone and listen, because my choice to focus on my child today affects my chance of her openness with me later.

  • The dedication I give to my friends today will affect how devoted we are to one another tomorrow.

So, I will stop waiting for my friend to text me and I will text her, because the choice to reach out will affect my chance of maintaining her friendship into the future.

  • The way I handle conflict with a co-worker today will influence how congenial we are tomorrow. 

So, I will talk to my co-worker today because the choice to work it out will affect our chance of being on good terms for weeks to come.

Can you see how this works?

We cannot divorce the relational choices we make today from the relational consequences we reap in the future.

To believe otherwise is to be darkened in our understanding. This is why God tells us–insists on it, actually–that we not live this way.

Now, picture the better relationship you long for, one more time. It can be healthier if you remember five simple words.

My. Choices. Affect. My. Chances.

No one has good relationships by chance. Good relationships are forged by choice.

What choice will you make today to increase your chance of a better relationship tomorrow? I’d love to know!

You are loved,


Join Donna on Instagram @donnaajones or @donnajonesspeaker for a new “Weekly Wisdom” 3 minute video series starting this week!


  1. Diane Obbema

    Hi Donna,
    Great principle. I am going to apply this to hopefully become more long suffering with my long-winded sister.
    Best to you!

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