Greetings and welcome. In this 3rd post, I want to continue where I left off considering what ingredients one would choose or not choose in building a healthy relationship. My hope is that through these posts, you will be able to evaluate your relationships and learn to discern how you are doing with all of your relationships. I do believe that when you do build and have healthy relationships, your life will perform much smoother. But when you have unhealthy ingredients and difficult relationships, then life and your relationships can be very stressful.
For example, let me ask you to consider another ingredient you should consider avoiding putting into building a healthy relationship.


This third ingredient that I want you to consider is to find a way to not judge or disapprove of someone in how they conduct life through their behavior. In essence, when you judge or disapprove, you are saying to that person, “You should not have done it that way.” As you know, we all have ways in which we do things. It is easy to walk into the kitchen and take out a carrot that you want to chop up for a dinner recipe. There are many ways to chop/slice up a carrot. You choose a certain way to do this. But then a spouse, friend, sibling, family member walks in and states, “Oh that is not how you chop up a carrot, you should do it this way.” This person then gives you a 30 second instruction on how you should cut up the carrot.
How does that make you feel? What are you thinking and experience as they are talking to you this way? Sure, it is only a carrot. But let’s carry it forward to other areas of your life. Someone observes you washing the car, doing the dishes, doing the laundry, moving the lawn, etc. You may be okay with someone trying to correct you with some of these tasks, but what if that same person starts making correcting comments about how you parent, how you drive, how you treat or talk to friends or family, how you manage your finances, how you play a game, or how you love?

Life is a practice. Every day is an attempt to do the best you can, giving all that you can. I realize there are many, many books, articles, Google, videos, ideas, and information about how something should be done. I am sure that any task or behavior can be looked at or examined based upon how to do something better, make improvements, or do something the right way (go to YouTube and type in “how to wash your car”). Sure, we live in a society where there is so much information regarding this topic of “How To…” At times, it is exhausting.

Unfortunately, in all of our judging or disapproving and in our communication of instructions with how to do something a certain way, the person hearing these instructions begins to feel hurt. Eventually, the person hearing this correction, disapproval or judging will start to feel that the way they do life or participate in doing life tasks is wrong, bad, shameful, or incorrect. This person will start to conclude that they cannot do anything right, which then will lead to doubt, fear, uncertainty or insecurity.

Thus the question is this: When judging and disapproval has entered the picture, then freedom and trust have left the relationship. Judging and disapproval have walked in and trust and freedom have walked out. That is why the Bible talks about the importance of not judging because when we start to do this, then we are taking a position of authority or trying to be supreme in concluding that we can act like God and correct people, when that is not our job. Sure, if you are a manager at a job or a CEO in a company, it is a good idea to evaluate and give performance reports to your employees. But when we start to do this in our personal life, then we are concluding that love is earned. On our job we earn money based upon our performance. In our personal life, we can’t be performing to gain someone’s approval.

The bottom line is this: Do you want to love and accept someone in your personal life or do you want to correct them? No one wants to be in a relationship where they are feeling that the other person is out to correct them, judge them, or disapprove of them. Each person needs to feel that how they do life, whatever the task may be, or how they love and relate, is in accordance to their way and understanding of how they do it. If someone chooses to make changes and learn how to do something different, then allow each person to choose to change, and not because they feel that you are judging or disapproving of them. Allow people to be free to change, not according to your judging and disapproving ways.

Phil Kiehl, LMFT, M.Div
Licensed Therapist

P.S. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what ingredients you would not put into building a healthy relationship. Share your comments and share this article with others. Thanks.