good life by peri musser
Part of cultivating a good life is practicing unity.
I first began to contemplate this idea when I was randomly put with a new roommate. We also worked together on a full-time humanitarian mission. That is a lot of time to spend with someone you don’t know but need to.
So how do we find unity in relationships? They can be romantic, professional, platonic, familial, or in my case forced upon you, but the truth of it is, unity can make any and all of them more meaningful.
I have a favorite quote that goes like this: “Commitment is an essential part of change. It is the act of obligating oneself to a course of action and then diligently following through on that decision. When people are genuinely committed, they have real intent, meaning that they fully intend to do what they have committed to do. They make an unwavering and earnest decision to change.” In what ways does committing to a relationship (of any kind) require change? I’d say in a lot of ways. It’s an adjustment. First, you have to be fully consecrated to the right things. If your main priorities are in line, then they will infuse every other decision you make. If you really believe in your relationship, you will fall back on that many times when it is hard. For me, I chose to believe this new roommate of mine was put in my life for a reason.
There are a lot of things that make us feel vulnerable (or put our emotions at risk). In order to discover things about yourself, you have to share them. Along with that risk comes forgiveness. Forgiveness is choosing your relationship over pride. And building a relationship requires that you put away pride. The joy of receiving forgiveness, and giving it, too (although I find myself asking for it more than giving it), far outweighs the pain of knowing you hurt someone. And remember, in vulnerable situations especially, the most powerful phrase in the English language is “me too.”
Communication increases your love. A large part of this is loving the differences you have. It is easy to love your similarities for obvious reasons. But if you truly want to love someone, you have to love it all. And point of view is crucial. For a while, my new roommate would follow me around the apartment and talk to me. I fall more on the introvert spectrum, and I couldn’t see why she liked to talk about (what seemed to me) trivial things. I started to get a little frustrated. Then, as we talked, I realized that her love language is quality time. Suddenly, her wanting to be around me all the time became a gift. She was trying to show me that she loved me!
4. Goal Setting
It does not stop. This is the step where most of our growth comes from. Setting goals with others requires that you have all three previous steps. I tried this experiment with my roommate. We each chose three things to work on and kept them throughout the six weeks. We charted our growth together every week. I wanted to be more “open, grounded, and balanced.” She was the only other person I had (we were far away from home on this trip). It all started when we were in the car together. I asked my friend how open I was, percentage wise. She told me 0%. And she was right. So each week as we talked about my three goals she would tell me my percentage. Then we’d talk about why… what I was doing to be more open or grounded, and then set a goal to help me be do better the next week. And then we would repeat the process for her three goals. It requires encouragement! We had to really be unified in this process.
This roommate of mine ended up being my very best friend, more like a sister. That relationship blesses my life everyday. I feel like this recipe can be applied to everyone, in whatever situation. I practice it frequently and look forward to practicing it in future relationships.
Note from Becky
Peri Musser joined our BH family just recently – in November 2014. We brought her on to help with marketing and graphic design, and we loved her immediately! Peri has a beautiful heart and soul and we love her influence and cutest quirks and unique style. She has great wisdom about relationships already, which is setting her up for great marital success when she one day finds “the one” who is perfect for her. We love keeping our eye out for great guys to set her up with. *wink*
Connect with Peri :: Instagram