The 7 Pillars of Love and a Healthy Relationship

I just wanted to share parts/thoughts of a teaching called “The 7 Pillars” that I’ve now listened to three times today by Danny Silk from Bethel Church in Redding, CA.

The foundation of any healthy relationship is going to be your capactity to offer unconditional acceptance to other people. Whether it’s your best friend who is amazing and thinks you’re amazing and they feel totally safe and they value the relationship and they honor you, OR they just broke your heart…stomped on it, kicked it around in the dirt, fed it to the dog.

Can you love other people?

Can I be in a relationship with you and you are very different than me?
Like, can I be Jesus and you are a thief?
That’s pretty different.

Can I offer to you as a foundation piece, the option to stay the same as you are right now, or do I need you to change?

Can I really  communicate, “You get to be you no matter what you do or who you are, you get to be you. AND I get to be me. But you really do get to be you.”

Can you communicate that as a foundation of your relationship that starting point and that stays there – that unconditional love and value despite your difference.

Galatians 6:1 – be able to approach people without the need to control/change them. Be able to unconditionally accept others. Don’t need to change them. This is the foundation of healthy relationships.

This is the seed of freedom in God’s presence.


And the greatest of these is love…
True love is a safe place. True love creates an environment where I can be vulnerable, where I can open up my life and you can look at it and you can see ME. “Into me you see” can only really happen where there is a practice of an environment of SAFETY, where I feel PROTECTED by your attitudes and your perceptions of me.

Love is a quality of environment and the relationship happens in that place, and if I don’t know how to create that or protect that or preserve that then it’s something else – something more confused.

When we talk about love it means that we have a SAFE PLACE  where the two of us can come together face to face and into me you see. And remember, it’s rooted in: WHAT YOU SEE, YOU DON’T NEED TO CHANGE.

The clearest example is of two people entering into their honeymoon together where they’re both completely naked and you feel SAFE there. You aren’t afraid that I am JUDGING you and wanting you to change that (take your pick) about you. CAN WE CREATE A SAFE PLACE WHERE WE CAN BOTH BE KNOWN FULLY?

This safe place has to be there for there to be a healthy relationship, where there is Shalom (peace of God), where there is JOY, where there is HOPE. Can I cultivate a pillar of LOVE?

2: Honor


Can I feel powerful over me around you?
Can you feel powerful over you around me?
The moment I no longer feel empowered (free to be everything God has made me to be), dishonor, disrespect, invalidation begins to creep into the relationship.

Sometimes it doesn’t creep in, sometimes it rushes in because I didn’t understand the PRACTICE of valuing what you need, what you think, what you feel, etc.

It’s a powerful practice towards other people to communicate that you value what’s going on inside of them. This couples with intimacy because “into you I see” because you showed me and I get to keep seeing it because you felt SAFE enough when you expressed it.

And so when you express who you are, I value you, I honor you, I listen, I engage in what it is that you’re talking about, what it is that you’re saying, then we begin to establish a place where you can powerfully be you and likewise I get to do the same thing.

Love and honor go together nicely because one is a facilitator of the other. Remove one and you threaten both.

3: Self-Control

If we’re going to have a healthy relationship where we have two powerful people who have come together, then I have to value that there’s a line where my life stops and your life starts. I’m going to practice this over and over to where something about your life is bothering me, I need something in your life, you’re doing something that’s scaring me (take your pick); can I manage myself to this line? Or do I keep VIOLATING our relationship by trying to make you do stuff? Do I understand the need that you have to control yourself? Do I understand  what it takes to protect FREEDOM between individuals? Do I get that I CAN’T control you, and you can’t control me?

It’s never about getting the other person to do what you can try and get them to do, it’s about EMPOWERING that other person through giving them good information about what I NEED. And then TRUSTING them.

That’s what we’re trying to build. I’m not trying to build anxiety, I’m not trying to build control, I’m not trying to build the threat of punishment, I’m trying to build TRUST.


4: Responsibility

Being aware that I have a life to respond to.
I have a life, it’s mine, and I must respond to the opportunities and the situations of my life.

Responsibility is so powerful, it’s more about enacting your plan. Do you have one? Are you unfolding and unpacking your plan in your relationships or are you just getting kicked around like an old soda pop can?


Understand that having a healthy life, having a healthy marriage, having a healthy family requires that you get ready for some situations, that you actually anticipate people disappointing you in relationships, and how will you RESPOND?

If I don’t have a plan of what I’m going to do with  me in the face of your choices then I feel POWERLESS and CONTROLLED by the way you live your life, and I’m going to REACT; because I feel controlled, I’m going to try and control.

But if I have a plan of what I’m going to do with me I know that if someone presents me with dishonor and disrespect, if someone lies to be, if someone is angry and abusive towards me, I know what I’m going to do with ME. I’ve been working on what I’m going to do with me if “that” is ever YOUR choice.

That is only going to happen if I think about it; if I anticipate it.
Create a plan of what you’re going to do with you in the face of hurt; BEING ABLE TO RESPOND IS RESPONSE-ABLE.

Your ability to respond to your life, seeing it coming to you, is what makes you responsible. And if you don’t have a plan then you are completely caught off guard each and every time it breaks over your face.

In the absence of this, we hope that our partners will live a life in such a way that it never messes with ours.

5. Truth

The pillar of truth incorporates trust, trustworthiness, and the capacity or the willingness to SPEAK the truth. It has everything to do with intimacy. It has everything to do with walking in the light.


Can you tell the truth without being scared?
Can you let people see who you are and not be afraid that they will try to change you or leave you?
Can you honestly tell someone that what they’re doing just isn’t working for you, or is it “more noble” to stuff your truth into your feet and put on a happy face and try to avoid a conflict?

Relationships are TESTED for TRUTH through conflict; they’re TESTED for TRUTH through COVENANT.

Feeling like I’m imprisoned as an individual means that I haven’t cultivated the pillar of TRUTH in my life. I’ve not learned how to let you know how your life is affecting me. I either don’t value myself enough to communicate it and expect it to have value, or I often don’t value you enough to tell you what’s going on with me, I just tell you what you need to do. And we DESTROY relationships with each other when we don’t know the TRUTH.

When I don’t know what’s going on with you, when I don’t know what you need from me, there’s no way I can supply it.

6: Faith

A healthy relationship has to incorporate the fact that you are not the top of the food chain. Life isn’t as big as you. As a believer, obviously faith is this huge deal, but faith is the inclusion and the surrender to God as someone in relationship with other people.

When you no longer living a life of faith (TRUSTING and HOPING God for the success of our relationship and our continued growth) you begin to live a life of self-preservation, a life trying to figure out how to be pleasing to the one you love, how to stay connected to them.

A pillar of incorporating “God is the master of ME in my relationship with you” and protecting that and walking that out changes the way I deal with a new relationship and an old relationship. It changes the way I pursue reconciliation after you have failed your half of the relationship, but that doesn’t happen if I am not practicing a pillar of FAITH about HOW I live.


It’s HIS LOVE that casts out my fear, but if I don’t stay connected to that ongoing supply that washes away my fear and anxiety, that washes away my need for vengeance, then what happens is, I become the judge, jury, and executioner.

7: Vision

Any relationship has to have a purpose and once we’ve outlasted the purpose, once we’ve outlasted the point of being together, then we start struggling with protecting the relationship.

If I don’t have value, if I don’t understand that “that” (whatever the vision is) is where I’m going with you, that is what’s drawing on me.
The WHY behind the relationship.

WHY are we doing this?
Why does God think this a good idea?

What is the PURPOSE, what is going to give the pain that we experience as we meld this relationship together PURPOSE?
What is the clarity of what is pulling us through our obstacles, through our situations, what is it that I’m willing to sacrifice right now to get then?

What am I willing to work for now to later say “it was WORTH it!”?

The clarity of VISION over your relationship helps you move towards what is SCARING or HURTING you; towards a higher purpose, towards a higher goal.

Each level of intimacy that you RISK experiencing takes you to another level.
For example, you thought you had a tough childhood, you just wait until you get married…or until you have babies…you keep learning, you keep growing, and you keep risking for the reward set before you; knowing and loving another.

There are so many levels of practicing these pillars of healthy relationships, but if you don’t have a plan to practice it, if you don’t take responsibility for your life and your relationships then you get a do-over, and another do-over, and another do-over. And unfortunately it’s very expensive to fail at certain levels of intimacy. But you will have situation after situation set up until you learn it; the Lord WILL have His way.

LOVE changes people.
Lovers don’t change each other, but LOVE changes lovers.

I will have to change what I have to change about MYSELF to protect my intimacy with my lover. I will do WHATEVER to PROTECT this.

Love changes people. But we mistake love as CONTROL. “I’m going to change you” is a completely different dynamic than “I WILL CHANGE for you”.

Change is only going to happen like that when I can manage ME. If I don’t know how to manage me then I will not direct myself to protect connections in important relationships. I will not DIRECT MYSELF INTO MY FEARS SO THAT I CAN CREATE INTIMACY. If I can ‘t manage me then I will be managed by something else and that something else is usually connected to a destructive force.

God did not give me a spirit of fear but of power, love, and self-control. He said, “Here, I’m going to come inside, live inside, and give you the capacity to LIVE OUT who I’ve called you to be.”

“If you cannot rule yourself, you’re like a city with it’s walls broken down” (proverbs) which means they cannot protect the core value of their life. As a result of being unable to live free, to manage ourselves, we are filled with the angst of being controlled. If you can’t manage yourself it means that you give way to those destructive forces and people just access you and access you and you just live in a condition of poverty, giving of yourself, gaining no momentum and no power.

Immediately upon being presented with somebody’s needs we are panicking, scrounging around to find ENOUGH. I am scared you’re going to hurt me, I am scared I’m not going to get my needs met.

Jesus died so that you could get this freedom BACK and that’s the GOOD NEWS. The freedom to manage your own self and not live in lack, being robbed by another.

The Good News is that you once were a slave, you now are FREE.
You once COULDN’T manage yourself; you now can!
You once were not free; you now are!


Once you have that kind of vision and that kind of understanding, there is a strength that rises up in you that makes you BOLD as lion. There is a RIGHTNESS that God gave his LIFE for my FREEDOM and I will LIVE to PROTECT THAT FREEDOM SO THAT MY DESTINY CAN BE KNOWN AS I LIVE AS A FREE MAN.

So BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS ONLY as you pursue this line in destiny.

I better learn how to SET UP BOUNDARIES AROUND MY LIFE, I better learn how to direct myself in relationships, I better learn how to communicate my need to be FREE and my value for YOUR need to be free. I better learn how to cultivate a life on the outside that MATCHES my life on the inside.


Integrity has to do with what’s inside my life coming OUT. Can I CONSISTENTLY draw out of my life and present it on the OUTSIDE?
Because lots of people can put on a show on the outside, all the while trying to cover what’s on the inside. That doesn’t mean I have integrity, it means I’m good at keeping up the facade, and that I feel CONTROLLED by what you EXPECT from my life. Or it means “You have something I want and I’ll only get it if I show you what you want to see”.


No matter what is going on around me, I’m not going to allow my life to become victim of externals to take over my core.
I’m not going to yield the integrity of my life to a force outside because if I stay in control of ME there’s nothing outside that CAN control me.

It’s about managing you.

I am HEALTHY, I am POWERFUL when I manage ME.

So I live a life that says, “What may come, may come, but I have a plan, I have a response, I have an idea that it could be a rough day but I know what I’m going to do with me when I feel so scared and hurt”.

If I have no control over me then I will not experience the freedom that God died to give me. Not in my marriage, not with my children, not with my friends, not as a person.

I won’t experience the freedom that he has come to give to me if I can’t tell me what to do.

Where the spirit of the Lord is there is freedom and this means that we are FREE from this EXTERNAL CONTROL SYSTEM. At the core of this freedom I practice a life that protects these beliefs, these core values, these pillars of relationships and love.

As I check and adjust how I am doing in these areas, I have a way to keep myself accountable to what I’m building in my life. I KNOW when I have been dishonoring because I’ve made honor important to me, I KNOW when I’ve jeprodized a safe place because love is so important to me, I KNOW when I’m reacting and that I don’t have  a plan because having a plan and understanding what I’m going to do no matter how you act helps keep me FREE.

Paying attention to the cultivation of certain things, of certain practices until it’s a habit; until it happens without trying.



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