Got a Relational Mess on Your Hands? Here’s How to Clean it Up


If you want to mess with the heart of a woman, mess with her relationships. Nothing brings us more joy when they are right, and nothing brings us more heartache when they are wrong.

I can almost see you nodding. Yep. We’re all in the same boat on this one.

Messy relationships mess with our heads (obsessive thoughts, anyone?), they mess with our hearts (hurting it, and occasionally breaking it), they mess with our ability to act, and even to react (which is why we always come up with the best responses after the fact).

Messy relationships can happen anywhere. With anyone. At anytime. So it just makes sense to know how to handle them, in advance.

Because messes aren’t meant to stay messes; messes are meant to be cleaned up. You would never dream of letting the mess on your carpet stay there forever. Why would you allow the mess with your friend, co-worker, child, or husband go unresolved?

But how do we deal with a messy relationship in a healthy, God-honoring way? It’s not as complicated as we sometimes make it.

Jesus said, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12).

Before you dismiss this as just a nice sentiment that you could never actually apply in real life, stop for just a moment. Think how this could be the solution to a messy, complicated relational issue you find yourself in right now.

  • With the child, teen or young adult: Think, how do I wished my mom treated me when I was 16 (or 6 or 26)? Do I wish she’d listened more? Lectured less? Set clearer boundaries and stuck to them? Encouraged me? Talked to me? Guided me? Had fun with me? Whatever you wished your mom did for you, do for your child.
  • With the spouse: Think, how do I want him to speak to me? How would I feel if the situation was reversed? How do I want him to respond to my needs? My concerns? My wishes? Whatever you want him to do for you, do for him.
  • With the co-worker, roommate, or friend: Think, how do I want her/him to communicate with me? How do I want them to address problems or concerns? Whatever you want her/him to do for you, do for them.

Nine times of out ten, treating someone else like you want to be treated will turn a problem into a possibility for deeper communication, better understanding, and real connection.

So, you know that real life human that’s messing with your heart and your head? Take that relational mess and apply Christ’s message right smack in the middle of it. Do to them what you would have them do to you. And do it with no expectation of immediate return.

Because honestly, when it comes to relationships…You can never go wrong by doing right. Click To Tweet

Let me know how it goes, will you?

PS. My friends Jill and Mark Savage are offering a free 7 day trial for their “No More Perfect Date Nights” experience. I can’t think of a better way to mess with your marriage, in the best kind of way!! Click here for more info.


  1. Anne Marie

    Thanks,Donna for this reminder. I’m struggling with my son and our relationship. I will look at today with new eyes and remember the words you wrote about encouraging, loving, having fun and enjoy him. I could use prayer for my relationship with him and for salvation of him and my husband.

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