Justin McPheters, a counselor with LDS Family Services, describes the emotional, mental, and spiritual benefits of having loving relationships.
“To be human is to need others, and this is no flaw or weakness. … Being the ‘best you can be’ is really only possible when you are deeply connected to another,” Dr. Susan Johnson, a clinical psychologist and relationship researcher, noted in her book Love Sense: The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships.
While many societal trends change over time, the need for humans to connect and relate to each other remains constant. Our relationships provide the security and growth opportunities to make us more than what we could be on our own.
Loving relationships benefit our emotional, mental, and spiritual health. We see these benefits personally when we drop off a treat for our neighbor, get a kind message from a sibling, or stand together with a spouse during a difficult loss. These feelings of inclusion, connection, support, and security contribute to increased health.
Research also supports the benefits of connection. “The data shows that people who are isolated but healthy are twice as likely to die over the period of a decade or so as are others in the same health,” said James House, a sociologist at the Institute of Social Research at University of Michigan.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf provides the following direction on maximizing the benefits of relationships: “As we turn to our Heavenly Father and seek His wisdom regarding the things that matter most, we learn over and over again the importance of four key relationships: with our God, with our families, with our fellowman, and with ourselves.”
As you read the following quotes, consider specific actions you might take to enhance key relationships in your life.
“To strengthen our relationship with God, we need some meaningful time alone with Him.” —Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Of Things That Matter Most
“We build deep and loving family relationships by doing simple things together. … Love is really spelled t-i-m-e, time.” —Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Of Things That Matter Most
“When parents offer their children empathy and help them to cope with negative feelings like anger, sadness, and fear, parents build bridges of loyalty and affection.” —John M. Gottman, Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child
We build relationships with our fellowman “one person at a time—by being sensitive to the needs of others, serving them, and giving of our time and talents.” —Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Of Things That Matter Most
“Love has an immense ability to help heal the devastating wounds that life sometimes deals us. Love also enhances our sense of connection to the larger world. Loving responsiveness is the foundation of a truly compassionate, civilized society.” —Sue Johnson, Hold Me Tight: Your Guide to the Most Successful Approach to Building Loving Relationships
“May I suggest that you reduce the rush and take a little extra time to get to know yourself better. Learn to see yourself as Heavenly Father sees you—as His precious daughter or son with divine potential.” —Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Of Things That Matter Most