‘Some of the biggest challenges in relationships come from the fact that most people enter a relationship in order to get something: they’re trying to find someone who’s going to make them feel good. In reality, the only way a relationship will last is if you see your relationship as a place that you go to give, and not a place that you go to take.’ Anthony Robbins
In the financial world, you invest with money. When you invest, you need ‘capital-cash’ in order to get more cash in return. The longer is the time horizon, the better is the returns. Similarly, when we invest in relationship, we need to have capital as well, that is to give others of our time.
The time we spent fostering relationship will eventually reap immeasurable returns, such as happiness and pleasure derived from being merely together with people we like. The only difference between investing with money and investing in relationship is that the former is tangible, whereas the latter is intangible. To me, thing that is tangible will only last for a short period of time. But intangible thing will tend to last a long time. Memories with people we care and love will last in our mind for a long time.
During my growing up years, I vividly remembered taking lunch and dinner alone most of the time. Each of my family members would take our meals at our own convenient time. We rarely had a proper family meal, not even once in a week or month. The only time we have a family dinner is during Chinese New Year. We were not brought up to do things together as a family and naturally, our relationship were not good to start with. There was a lot of squabble in the house during our growing up years among the adults and children as well.
Up till today, my siblings and I are not close although I make many attempts to get them to have dinner with me occasionally. As usual, not all my siblings are willing to give up their time to have a meal with me. It’s sad, but I don’t blame them as we were brought up that way.
Ever since I have my own family, we try to have at least one meal a day together as a family. This is possible only when the children were younger. Once they reach seventeen, it is difficult as they have more after school activities. Nowadays, we have not been able to have dinner together daily. However, I endeavor to cook for my eldest daily as she prefers home-cooked food even though she comes home from work late. I realized that it is because we have been having dinner daily as a family during their growing up years, we are able to foster good relationship and bond with the children. Nowadays, even though we rarely have dinner together during the weekdays, we have at least one or two meals together over the weekends.
My relationship with my children is good and they usually confide in me. As my eldest is working, she gives me monthly allowances to cover some of the family expenses. Since young, my children receive school allowances from me and they were taught to give me allowances when they started working. Although I expect my daughter to give me allowances, I did not specify how much she should give; I would gladly take a few hundred of dollars. However, I was surprised that she gives me one third of her gross income, i.e. SGD 1000 after she got her first salary. I am grateful that she is sensible and willing to shoulder some of the family’s expenses even though she knows that I have the means.
Similarly relationship with people outside your home works the same way as well. I believe if you bother to spend time to talk and dine with your colleagues and clients, your relationship with them would be good. In return, your working relationship with them is likely to be pleasant and things get done in a much quicker way.
There is another group of people whom you meet occasionally, but only on a need to basis. They are your optometrist, dentist, medical doctor and hair stylist. Most of us like to go to our regular optometrist to get our eyes check or change our spectacles. When I visit my optometrist, I try to get to know him a little more, especially when he is the owner of the optical shop. Why? It is because he is likely to be around for a much longer time as compared to his employees. Since I want to invest in relationship, it makes sense to have a long-term view in mind. As for me, I prefer to be served by the same dentist and optometrist as I feel more comfortable and secure. I believe they understand my condition better since they knows me.
My family and I have been going to our regular optometrist and dentist for the past fourteen years. Since my husband’s deceased, both my optometrist and dentist help me to save money. Each time we visit them for treatment, they always give us 15 to 20 per cent discount. I am grateful that they help me to reduce my expenses. I have never expected them to give me discount and show their concern as a friend would. I believe they treasure me as their loyal customer and I am thankful for their kindness.
Above all things, I have to say that it is God who gives favor to me and my children. Whenever I am blessed, I give thanks to Jesus for His grace. In 2 Corinthians 12:9 Jesus said: “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” In good time, I thank God for His son, Jesus. However, in bad time, I persevere and pray in hope for God to deliver me from suffering and bondage. Do not give up hope in your relationship. It takes just a telephone call or a message via Whatsapp to start. If you don’t know what to say or text, pray and the Holy Spirit will reveal to you. The bible say, ” Be glad for all God is planning for you. Be patient in trouble, and always be prayerful.” (Roman 12:12 NLT)