How to have harmonious relationships at home, work and Church

Harmony comes from treating others as we would like to be treated. Raising a large family taught us the following:

Share in work and responsibilities.- Respect others' belongings.

Be honest with each other.

Develop a sense of humor.

Apologize to and forgive others.

Pray together.

Read and study the scriptures together.

Hold weekly family home evenings.

Attend Church together.

At work, we can do the following:

Learn and do a job to the best of our ability.

Be cordial and polite, even in tense situations.

Remain steadfast in standards and principles.

Be dependable and honest.

In Church callings, harmonious relationships come when we do the following:

Invite and prepare to receive the Spirit.

Support others in their callings.

Avoid criticism.

Offer support; praise and be encouraging.

Love as the Savior loves and be willing to forgive. - Gary and Louise Barnes, Downey, Idaho

How we did it:

Take responsibility

When differences occur, ask yourself, "What did I do to contribute to this problem?" If you are honest, you will realize that the other person is not the only one at fault. It takes two to have a problem.

Often our pride is the stumbling block. Always ask yourself, "What would Jesus have me do?" Then take the responsibility for your own actions. - Gwen Sutton Robinson, Newdale, Idaho

Supportive environment

At one time, I was working in a position that often required me to associate with people whose standards of language were different than mine. Cursing and swearing of all forms were often to be heard. One young woman in particular used these words without thinking. To her, they were just a part of conversational repertoire.

I enjoyed this girl's company and didn't want to hurt her feelings, but I also desired to be free from the constant profanity in her presence. I chose a time when I could speak to her privately, and asked her - as a favor - if she would mind not cussing so much. I tried to let her know that this would mean a lot to me.

She immediately apologized and acknowledged that it was a bad habit, one that she had been wanting to try and rid herself of. I found through this experience that asking nicely - and avoiding confrontations which might be witnessed by other people - can provide a supportive environment that may do more to attain the desired results than any amount of demanding or threatening might accomplish. - Shon S. Flake, St. John's, Ariz.

Have empathy

As a mother, I think I set the tone in the home. If I'm angry or have problems, then I just escalate negative situations.

Learning to communicate with family members is important. Find out what their needs are and how they feel about those needs.

One of the most important parts of communication is listening. I don't see how anyone can communicate unless he or she is willing to listen. My husband is a bishop, and he's effective because he listens. He lets others talk and doesn't judge them.

Praying and attending Church are also necessary. If we don't pray, I don't see how we can have harmonious relationships. I would suggest that before you go to work or just out for the day's activities, have a short scripture study and a prayer. In my life, this gets me in a mood to be able to deal with challenges.

We should always remember that we don't know what others are going through. We don't know if others are having a bad day, or if they are dealing with emotional trauma. For example, I have a lot of health problems. Because of this, I have so much empathy for people with similar problems. I always say, "You don't know what they're going through." - Vernis Taylor, West Valley City, Utah

Accentuate the good

Our family often shares the following story: A couple was celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary when one of their granddaughters asked her grandmother, "How come you and Grandpa have such a good relationship?"

The woman told the girl that before she was married, she decided that she would make a list of 10 things that if her husband did, they wouldn't bother her. The girl then asked, `What were those 10 things?' And the woman told her that she never got around to making the list. But when her husband did do something that bothered her, she would say to herself, "Lucky for me that's one of the 10."

To compromise is to harmonize. When we accentuate the good things in each other and not dwell on the negative, we have found that there is less contention in our home. - Brad and Joanne Thompson, Barrie, Ontario

Sing together

Harmonious relationships at home, Church or work can be established through some effort. In our family, we get along better when we smile, when we are patient with and tolerant of each others' shortcomings, when we don't make unkind remarks - whether they need to be said or not, and when we put others' needs ahead of our own. We talk things out.

Last but not least, we sing together. Music has charms to soothe the savage beast. When we're frustrated, we sit down at the piano or we just break out in song. It's become a release for our children like it is for my husband and me.

It takes a constant effort, but when you love each other, you can do it. - Gay West, Sylva, N.C.

Quick to forgive

Be quick to forgive. The old adage, "Don't sweat the small stuff," applies. And the rejoinder, "Most things are small stuff," applies as well. Often we accept offenses humbly at work, but explode at home. Remember our family is as important - more so - than our job.

Be humble and quick to admit mistakes when confronted. Try to solve differences peaceably, rather than shouting, sulking or becoming angry.

Be a peacemaker, rather than a contributor to quarrels. Remember who is the father of all contention.

Have charity, as the Savior taught. (Please see Matt. 7:12.)

Always remember who you are and who your associates and family members are - children of God with divine potential. - Walter W. Mitchell III, Salisbury, N.C.

How to checklist:

1 Treat others with respect, charity; be forgiving.

2 Pray, read scriptures; this helps you meet challenges.

3 Establish good communication; be a good listener.

4 Learn to compromise; be patient and tolerant.


Aug. 20 "How to avoid being over-protective of your children."

Aug. 27 "How to help your children develop good study habits."

Sept. 3 "How to recognize and overcome jealousy."

Sept. 10 "How to deal with unruly children in a home or Church setting."

Sept. 17 "How to encourage discussion during family home evening."

Sept. 24 "How to overcome challenges in your marriage relationship."

Had any good experiences or practical success in any of the above subjects? Share them with our readers in about 100-150 words. Write the "How-to" editor, Church News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110, or send fax to (801) 237-2121. Please include a name and phone number. Contributions may be edited or excerpted and will not be returned. Due to limited space, some contributions may not be used; those used should not be regarded as official Church doctrine or policy. Material must be received at least 12 days before publication date.

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