Camille and I have been in Music City, Nashville, Tennessee for the last week without kids. And it is difficult to describe just how much we needed this time away. It is easy for all of us to get stuck in the rhythms and ruts of life without even realizing it. And we are no exception. After all, we are humans, not robots.
And as humans, we need time to refresh, recreate, renew, reconnect, and rest. As we were driving the long miles on I-40 West, one of our friends, mentors, and colleagues in the ministry called me and suggested that Camille and I play a little game, which involves, according to the New York Times, answering thirty-six questions in order to fall in love or to make your love even stronger. And for the last week, we have been answering these questions one by one.
If you’re interested in trying it yourself you can find the questions here: http://36questionsinlove.com/.
Surely, I thought to myself, there’s no magic formula to make people fall in love. And yet, anytime we become curious about another individual, anytime we learn more of someone’s story -- we find ourselves more closely connected with them. Perhaps that is the magic sauce in the thirty-six questions game.
In my day-to-day routine, I tend to get focused on what I need to accomplish. And because of that, many of my conversations are transactional rather than relational in nature. When I am at a coffee shop, I generally make as much small talk as necessary in order to get my coffee from the barista. When I order lunch, I tend to do the same thing with the waitress. I am not rude, but I am not really trying to develop a friendship either. Even in my role as a husband, I typically want the details of what I need to do and when I need to do it. “When do I need to pick up the kids?” “What are we having for dinner tonight?” “Did you pay the water bill?” So many of our normal conversations at home revolve around figuring out the logistics of our calendar and budget.
And while it’s important to know when to pick up the kids, it’s not everything. There are more important things in a relationship. So, I’m curious what has worked for you as you seek to build relationships with other people? What has helped you build strong and healthy relationships? What are the things that have gotten in the way of developing these relationships? And can we all agree that we can get better at relationships with more intentionality?
As we look forward to the season of fall which is right around the corner, may we commit again to knowing others, loving others, being known, and being loved by them?