“From our earliest years we are subtly taught that the only way to achieve anything is through action.” – Gordon MacDonald

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” – Bible

Joe and Jane give each other a kiss in the morning as Joe heads off to work and Jane prepares for the rest of her day. This is the only interaction they have.

Weekends are about the same, what with ball games and other sports activities for the kids, golf and various volunteer activities with the church and in the community.

Joe and Jane feel on the surface that all of these activities are what life is all about; if they aren’t doing something, they are wasting time. But they sense that something is missing.

Our society and culture today are performance-oriented. We must always be doing something – anything! If we aren’t, something’s wrong with us.

This performance mentality disconnects us from that one “activity” that is most important and for which we are designed – developing and nurturing relationships.

First of all, there is that relationship we have with ourselves. Do we really know who we are? Do we have a sense of value and of goals and objectives? More specifically, are those goals and objectives tied to what is important to us? Are our activities in line with our goals and objectives?

Allegedly the two words “Know Thyself” were written on the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. This phrase has been interpreted in a variety of ways down through the centuries. Taking it simply at its face value implies that there is something about us to know.

We are not just a random accident in a universe operating in an unplanned and arbitrary fashion. We all have unique abilities and gifts. Our life is exciting and fulfilling when we function in line with our design.

Then there is the relationship we have with others. Quoting authors Joanna Saisan, M.S.W., Melinda Smith, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., “A strong, healthy relationship can be one of the best supports in your life. Good relationships improve all aspects of your life, strengthening your health, your mind, and your connections with others.

“However, if the relationship isn’t working, it can also be a tremendous drain. Relationships are an investment. The more you put in, the more you can get back.”

Life is really all about relationship. Of primary importance is the relationship between the husband and the wife and then their children. Relationships aren’t built on activities; they are built on communication.

It is true that activities have a major impact on relationships. Failure in a marriage to fulfill a commitment (to carry out an activity) can destroy trust and intimacy.

However, addressing that failure can ultimately go a long way toward strengthening the relationship, if the appropriate communication subsequently occurs. A young man was learning how to fly a plane under the excellent tutelage of a seasoned veteran pilot. The pilot-in-training was doing everything right and yet the veteran pilot refused to give him the go-ahead to get his license.

The young pilot didn’t know what more he could do to please the veteran. Then the trainee made a mistake that caused the plane to go out of control. The veteran took no action, and the young pilot, after some moments of panic, reacted well and stabilized the plane. The veteran said, “Now I can recommend you to take the license exam. I have learned more about you doing these last few moments then all the time you spent flying to perfection.”

The final and most important relationship is with God. If we operate with the idea that life is all about ourselves and our horizontal relationships, we will fail, because we leave out God, who is both the designer and the intervener.

If we take the time to develop our relationships with ourselves, others and God, just “being” together, the “doing” will follow.

The Family and Marriage Coalition of Aiken, Inc. (FAMCO) provides resources for you to succeed in your marriage and families. Roger Rollins, Executive Director, FAMCO, 640-4689, rogerrollins@aikenfamco.com, www.aikenfamco.com.