Honor: The Key to Healthy Relationships

The Key to Healthy Relationships - Grace Fox

Taking delight in honoring others is a principle our world seems to have forgotten. And it begins at home with the little things – like saying thank you.

Years ago I interviewed Gary Smalley for a magazine article. He was a man of great wisdom, and during our conversation, he said something that I’ll always remember.

Dr. Smalley quoted Romans 12:10:

“Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”

Then he said that every human relationship—if it’s healthy—is rooted in mutual honor and respect.

To demonstrate this truth, he told me to imagine a continuum numbered from zero to ten. “Where would you place yourself in importance on this continuum?” he asked.

“I suppose I’d place myself at a seven or eight out of ten,” I said.

“Okay, then,” Dr. Smalley said. “That means you must regard others as a nine or ten.”

Principle of honor

Imagine for a moment what the world would look like if everyone applied this principle of honor: No more senseless tragedies like those that have happened in the USA in recent weeks. No more abuse of any sort. No more blaming or shaming others. No more greed at the expense of others’ well-being.

If every person on our planet applied this principle of honor, crime rates would plummet. Marriages would last. People would genuinely look out for others’ best interest.

Rather than focusing on our own “right” to be happy, we’d contribute towards the happiness of others. Cultures around the world would be impacted, especially those that demean women or place little or no value on the unborn, the crippled, widows and orphans, and seniors.

Taking delight in honoring others

Taking delight in honoring others is a principle our world at large seems to have forgotten. I’m grateful for news stories that tell of individuals who choose to remember and implement it—like the police officer who learned of a little boy left at school when no one picked him up. It was the boy’s birthday, so the officer helped him celebrate.

Or the furniture store owner who opened his shop during the recent hurricanes to provide shelter for people whose homes were destroyed.

Or the fellow who’s cooked scores of meals for Puerto Ricans since the storm ravaged their country.

The ways in which we can honor others is limitless, and it begins at home with the little things—like saying “thank you” to our spouse when he or she takes out the trash. Or praising a family member to someone else, within that family member’s earshot. Or giving someone our undivided attention when he wants to talk with us.

How about you?

How can you show honor to someone today?

Know you are loved,


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