We encounter many of life’s greatest joys while sharing hopes and dreams, hurts and hugs, with family and friends. Yet some of these relationships can also be our greatest challenges. People are wonderful… and people are terrible.

That’s where God can step in with His box of “relationship tools.” The tools God uses with us, such as grace, love, truth and time, are the same tools we can use with others. These tools are proven to grow, nurture, and even repair relationships. They are designed to help us become healthy humans and compassionate friends.

Relationships are God’s number one priority. He didn’t create this world just so we could have correct information about Him (as important as that is). And He didn’t send His Son to the Earth in the person of Jesus Christ because our behavior was something to be proud of. Just the opposite! The mystery the Bible reveals is that “God is love” (1 John 4:16), and love has no recourse but to give love. Parents have children because they want to give their overabundance of love away, and God created humans for the same reason. It is His nature to love, and humans created in His image are the recipients of this great and wonderful love.

“The greatest joy in the world is love, unselfish love, where there is nothing expected in return – that’s heaven.” – Toni Morrison

Here are six steps to ensure your Interpersonal Relationship success:

Family Learn about your family history and prepare a photo storybook of your heritage. Create a family night once a week or once a month when everyone gets together for dinner or something else fun. Best of all, spend personal time with each family member this week.

Friends Nurture quality friendships. Step outside of your comfort zone and dedicate special time for others. This will usually revolve around food, walks, games and sports, with the end result being conversations about everything!

Neighbors Be attentive and friendly to those who live near you. If you have elderly neighbors, offer to pick up their groceries. Welcome new families with pies, breads or flowers. Offer to mow and edge their lawns while your neighbors are on vacation.

Organizations Join a local organization in which you can share your skills and develop new friendships. Become a Big Brother or Big Sister. Help build a Habitat for Humanity home. Read to kids at the library. Coach soccer or Little League.

Church A church family can easily become the core of your personal support system. Do more than attend – choose to become involved with a service ministry offered at your church that fits where your heart and skills are. Helping others is one of the best ways to boost your health.

Work Don’t neglect the valuable relationships with your coworkers. Learn about them, their families and their hopes. In the process, your work may even become easier!

“And above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins.'” – 1 Peter 4:8