I have a few small financial investments to help provide for retirement. Like most people who have had money invested over the past few years, those quarterly statements have not been pretty. There is nothing worse than getting a bad return on what you have invested. People who are experienced with the stock market know that it’s crucial to find someone who knows how much to invest and where to invest it. The same is true in our relationships. You invest time, energy, and resources into every relationship you have. If you invest wisely, you will have healthy and enjoyable relationships. If you invest poorly, your relationships will suffer. So, how can you know if you are investing wisely in your relationships? Start by asking yourself these questions:
Am I investing heavily in my “onlys”?
I am my daughter’s only Dad, and my wife’s only husband (thank goodness). No one will invest in my daughter as her father if I don’t. If I fail to give her the time and attention she needs, she will suffer. The same goes for my wife. Since I am the only husband she has, she needs me to invest as a husband should. Your “onlys” are your most important relationships. It’s easy to overlook those closest to us, and assume that they are fine. But, if you don’t prioritize your “onlys”, those relationships will suffer, and so will you.
Am I investing based on need or priority?
“The squeaky wheel gets the grease”, the old saying goes, and it’s true. Many times we invest our time and energy in people that are the most demanding. It may be work or a needy friend. It’s not wise to rely on other people to determine how we invest our relational energy. You have to be the one to choose where and how much you invest. Which relationships do you have that are the most important to you? Are there people that you care about that are going through a difficult time and therefore need more of you now than usual? You need to be the one to decide who gets your time and attention.
Am I overestimating how much I have to invest?
You are limited. You have limited hours. You have limited energy. That means you have a limited amount that you can invest in relationships. If you don’t choose where to invest, you limits will choose for you. How many people get to the weekend and finally have time with their family, only to have nothing left to give? It’s easy to overestimate how much time and energy you have available to you. Be honest with yourself about how much energy and time you have so you can make a deliberate choice about how to invest them wisely.
Wise relational investments will give you the best returns of all. They will give your life stability and meaning. Take some time and evaluate your investments today.