Crucible of Relationship: Keys for Healthy Living


I know I’ve yet to post an article on here about herbs or physiology.  Those will come shortly, but there are a few things in life even more crucial to our health.  I often speak with people whose diets are pristine and who workout 5 times a week, but whose health is falling apart because of their relationships.  You just can’t eat good enough, or live clean enough to be healthy without healthy relationships.

Our lives are defined by relationships:

  • Our relationship with the earth as its caregiver and our own dependency on it
  • Our relationship with our body and our ability to listen and respond to our own body language
  • Our relationship with our own heart and mind through thoughts and emotions
  • Above all our relationship with God and other people

I’ve sometimes thought that since most of my issues involve people that I share my life with, if I could just stick myself off on a deserted island, I’d be issue free.  But sure enough they’d still be there, hidden away and waiting to surface the next time I shared myself again with God and humanity.  We can stick ourselves on islands without having to change geographical locations; we just have to keep God and people at arms length, a safe and terrible place.  I’m not saying that we should share ourselves intimately with everyone, but if we live wisely and passionately, we’ll open ourselves  (and not just to the folks that make us feel good, or smart, or justified).  Healthy things grow, and we grow as we are refined in relationships.

For years now, I’ve highly respected the thoughts of Dr. Neal Wyatt.  A close friend of mine, he’s a medical doctor, and a rock drummer, but his greatest passion is relationships.  You can check out his posts and musings here.  He’s also working on a book that I’m very ready to get my hands on.   He recently spoke on the paradox and importance of friction in relationships.  Taken from his lecture, here are some highlights that I’ve paraphrased.  Chew on these and please leave some feedback!

Healthy things grow, and we grow as we are refined in relationships.

1. Trusting God for my self-worth, value, and needs changes how I view conflict in my relationships.  If I am dependent on you to meet those deep needs of mine, I will surely hold you to expectations impossible to meet.

2. Living in constant interaction with, and dependence on, God allows a person to enter times of conflict with a heart of love.  When God is the provider of someone’s deep needs, that person can shift their relationship goals from getting their own needs met to building a healthy relationship with another person.  They’ll also less frequently be offended when things don’t go their way.

3. Friction in a relationship is not bad.  It is a marker of true relationship that can lead to growth.

4. Because conflict in relationship often produces a painful emotional response, it provides me an opportunity to open my heart to God to receive His love and truth.  This process reinforces my need for God and His love for me if I choose to bring to Him this pain.  It’s often not a comfortable option.

5. Relational friction and conflict are opportunities for me to share unconditional love with someone else by placing their needs ahead of my own self interests.

6. Trusting in God’s unconditional love for me tears down my own insecurity and allows me to be teachable.  This puts me in a position where I can truly hear what you have to say, even if it’s painful or even if you’re wrong.  I’m able to grow and learn from you and each experience.

7. If friction or conflict is handled in a healthy way, the relationship will be even stronger.  This is the true definition of peace from the Greek word irene, which is a medical term that refers to the occurrence when a broken bone is mended, that it becomes stronger than it was even before the break.

8. When we operate this way in relationships, we become living proof to those around us that God’s love is stronger than any opposition and has the power to overcome any obstacle.

There is so much to write about in the field of health, but real life happens when people come together.  Hope you enjoyed this post.  Please comment below.  Also, if you missed last week’s post, check it out here.  It’s my own personal story.  Stay tuned for a new post next week.

Eric McMullen, C.N.C, M.Ed.

p.s. the wonderful picture is one of my favorites from Celina Baird over at