Editor's Note: The following is excerpted from "The T.D. Jakes Relationship Bible: Life Lessons on Relationships from the Inspired Word of God."
The Bible, the world's most read book, sets forth the greatest story ever told. It is a love story unlike no other, underscored by the countless demonstrations of God's love for man.
The cross is one of the world's most visibly recognized icons with its vertically pointing element representing this quintessential union between God and man. It is the intersecting horizontal plane symbolizing the day-to-day relationships among humans that especially benefit from the guidance found in the "Inspired Word of God."
After 35 years in ministry and 30 years of marriage to Serita Jakes, Bishop T.D. Jakes has outlined key life lessons learned from these two great institutions. Six sample "Lessons from the Heart" from The Relationship Bible follow:
1. Overcoming Our Differences in Relationships.
The art of relationships requires that a man who is very different from his woman finds common ground with her and vice versa. We are meant to balance each other by attracting people whose strengths may be our weaknesses. Together as a result of our differences and unique distinctions, we complement each other. Understanding only comes when you stand under a real desire to know, love, and comprehend the other person, embracing the uniqueness of who they are.
2. Healthy Relationships Require Emotional and Spiritual Freedom.
You often won't know what you have, let alone need, in your life until you clear the mental and emotional room to experience the here and now. We don't have to stay buried under the past or cycles of mistakes, even though it may seem insurmountable. You can move on with your life. You have to keep your mental and emotional house clean and in order. Praying, journaling, mediation, and exercise are common ways for you to be sure your emotional issues of the past aren't seeping into your current relationships.
3. It Takes Courage to Really Love Someone.
Deciding to love gets harder as you get older. It's more and more difficult to fall in love because your "faller" gets broken. We've all had relationships that didn't work out for one reason or another. The loss of a relationship can be a traumatic experience and can affect us in our lives for months and sometimes for years. You need to understand what role you played in the relationship's demise, and work to come to peace with your partner's behavior as well as your own. No matter what has happened to you, the only hope of a healthy future relationship is to let go of the past.
4. Healthy Compromise in Relationships.
Negotiating win-win possibilities in relationships often means seeing things through the eyes of the others involved in the situation or problem. In most cases of healthy compromise, both parties feel they are "right." Healthy compromise is the hallmark of healthy relationships. The Lord's peace often results when each side comes close to His viewpoint, His perfect plan for both parties. We cannot remain so entrenched in our view that we cannot change or adapt, and we must know when not to compromise too far.
5. Safeguarding Your Relationships.
In order to maximize your life and relationships, you have to minimize your load. You must focus on what's important when it comes to your relationships. Lightening your load means knowing when to release things. Most of don't realize that the key to release ourselves is within our own hands. You can move ahead and conserve your strength for things that count, things you can change, things you can control. Have the wisdom to see the importance of giving you all to your relationships today!
6. Evaluate Who You Are.
When you see yourself as valuable enough to deserve love and attention from the other person, you form a boundary that you will not compromise. A little self-esteem goes a long way in garnering the courage to ask and answer questions that reveal who you really are and what you really want. Once you look realistically at who you really are and what you desire in a healthy relationship, you are ready to enter into the research that will lead to sound decisions.