It’s February and the red hearts are everywhere! This seems a fitting time to look at how we invest in relationships. When it comes to making financial investments, we look for a positive return on investment or ROI. Relationships work much the same way. We make investments (a.k.a deposits) into relationships that can yield positive or negative returns. Positive returns add to our lives while negative returns subtract from our lives.
2 Kinds of Relationship ROI
Today, I want to share with you two types of investments I made as a young college woman that yielded negative returns and the positive investment I should have made instead. I hope to encourage you to focus on making positive investments in these areas now that will yield long-term returns.
Investing in Romantic Relationships
As a college woman, romantic relationships were a big part of my experience. In hindsight, I spent a significant part of my college years investing in romantic relationships that I hoped would pay off in long-term commitments such as marriage. However, the deeper I went into these relationships, the more I knew they were not adding to my life. Instead of being maximized, I was being limited. If I could offer any encouragement in this area, it is to not ignore the warning signs and red flags. It’s easy to get comfortable and settle, but this will only divide and subtract from your life in the long run. At the age of 21, I began investing in the most important relationship of my life, with Jesus, my Savior. This gave me a new perspective on what’s really important, and that included not settling for a romantic relationship that was clearly not His will for me.
My value is not found in my relationship status. My value is found in Him.
Investing in Friendships
I must confess, I was very self-absorbed as a young college woman. My world was small, consisting of my circle of friends, going to class, and going out. Even though I had “friends” we did not invest positively in each others’ lives. While we were all focused on school, we were also focused on the parties, greek life, clubs, and etc. The saying goes that birds of a feather flock together. A better investment for me would have been to focus on understanding what true friendship is and cultivating that in my life. One, real friends are open and honest with each other. The Bible says that faithful are the wounds of a friend. A friend will tell you the truth, even if it hurts. If I hold my college friends, and myself, to that criteria alone, we weren’t true friends. My encouragement here is to find and cultivate true, genuine friendships. Be a person that will love your friends enough to tell them the truth, and surround yourself with people who love you enough to do the same. Don’t waste time with surface people. They will only import negativity and unproductivity in your life.
Our decisions and choices are ultimately investments we are making for our future. Some of our decisions are short-term investments, meaning that we see returns show up in our lives quickly. Others are long-term investments that can take years for us to see a return. Making positive investments in our relationships and avoiding the negative investments, will put us on a path to positive long-term returns. The most important investment we can make is with the Lord. When we are rooted and established in His love, then we are in a position to engage with others in positive, healthy relationships.
So, I leave you with this question to reflect on: What’s your Relationship ROI?