The Adventure of Relationship

When all is said and done, it seems like the most important issues in life can be summarized in two words: Relationship Matters. Everything in our lives is impacted by the quality of our relationships. Even researchers are confirming this simple, yet profound, truth.

For over 80 years, Harvard University has been conducting a study on adult development to discover the secret of success and happiness. In a recent TED Talk, Robert Waldinger, a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, said the study revealed that our relationships have a significant impact on our happiness, success and even our health. Eighty years to discover this truth! WOW!

My dad, who barely graduated from high school, had no idea about any research conducted at Harvard, but he lived to be 90 years old and was one of the happiest and most content men I’ve ever known. He simply lived life relationally well. At his funeral, I shared a quote from J.R.R. Tolkien that captures how he lived his life:

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.

Dad and Josh, around 2008

Dad and Josh, around 2008

Those three things—food, cheer and song—are foundational elements of growing strong relationships. Throughout his entire life, Dad gathered with others around a meal, a joke or leading singing with others at church. Tending to relationship matters was of the highest priority for Dad.

My oldest son, Josh, has a unique take on relationships and refers to them as the ultimate adventure. Actually, he wrote this phrase:

Life is given meaning through relationships and relationships are given life through adventure.

Josh has always been about adventure. He was the ultimate prankster in high school. Hitchhiked across the country at 18. Skydived out of perfectly good planes multiple times. Bungee jumped. Started his marriage by living in a pop-up camper with his amazing wife, Jessica. And yet, Josh has said these wise words:

Maybe caring deeply for one another is the deepest adventure we can take.

Josh is right. My Dad was right. And the Harvard study got it right. Relationship matters. It’s one of a very short list of things that is eternal. Invest in relationships wisely. If you have 5 minutes, watch the video that Josh created below as he talks about the adventure of relationships. And then, go on your own great adventure!