Taken from The Relational Soul – In the ‘70s John Bowlby pioneered the study of early attachment. Since then there has been a great deal of research that identified four basic patterns of attaching—avoidant, ambivalent, scattered, and stable. All of us “learn” one of these basic patterns early in life and it becomes the way by which we tend to relationally engage throughout our lives. How one learns to relate in childhood will influence how one relates as an adult unless or until the adult makes an intentional, hard-fought shift.
Taken from The Relational Soul – It is virtually impossible to overstate the significance of our learned relational attachment system in the early years and its profound influence on our relational experience as adults. The quality and character of the programming we received early in life establishes a “pattern of attachment” that controls our relationships later in life.
Taken from The Relational Soul – A secular orientation creates huge challenge for relationships. It displaces the mystery of God’s actual life-giving presence from creation. Gone is the vision that assumes God’s personal presence is the opportunity and the power to engage relationally, that God’s personal presence is the fuel of our relational engine, that God’s personal presence is love. Gone is the understanding that every loving relationship we experience owes its existence to the actual presence of Christ’s Spirit.
Taken from The Relational Soul – We are structured by and for relationships. Our relationships determine whether or not we have and enjoy life. A deep participation in the life of another is the life-blood of the soul. Relational connection is that profound and that necessary. It is that basic.
Taken from The Relational Soul – Maleness and femaleness is the fundamental way in which we carry our relational design. Interestingly, the English word “sexuality” comes from the Latin word sexus which means, “being divided, cut off, separated from another.” We typically don’t think of sexuality in terms of separation, but that is precisely what it is. Our sexual desire, drive, and energy show we are separated and long to be connected (both physically and emotionally).
Taken from The Relational Soul – We are relational beings because we are created in the image of a relational God. By definition the Christian God exists in relationship as Father, Son, and Spirit. While existing as three distinct Persons they share one divine essence that is described as love (1 John 4:8). God can be love only if God exists as community. The pure love they have for each other is unconditionally giving in its character. The Father gives Himself for the Son and the Son gives Himself for the Father.
Taken from The Relational Soul – Be it chronic or acute, slight or significant, loneliness is proof of our relational design. At the core of our being is this truth—we are designed FOR and defined BY our relationships. We were born with a relentless longing to participate in the life of others. Fundamentally, we are relational souls. We cannot not be relational. We cannot exist well without connection and communion with another. Relational reactivity and alienation is death for the soul.