Developing Deeper Relationships

Developing Deeper Relationships

Categories: AACC BLOG

by Dan Seaborn


In Ephesians 4:2 (NIV), Paul sets a high standard for relationships. He writes, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” While Paul is speaking about all relationships in this verse, his words are especially important to spouse, child, and family relationships.  

In this article, I’ll share some practical ways that you can foster emotional closeness with your family. While none of these ideas are new or cutting-edge, I want to make some nonobvious connections to Ephesians 4:2 and emphasize that family relationships are strengthened by simple things—like humility, gentleness, patience, and bearing with one another in love. 

Here are four relationship-enriching steps I encourage families to take: 

  1. Apologize. Whether it’s a bad mood you’ve been in, something you did in a moment of carelessness, or the painful memory of a conflict you had with a loved one years ago, conflict points fester if left unaddressed. Simply apologizing to your family members when you make a mistake is a proven way to express humility and foster emotional closeness. 

  2. Talk about hopes and dreams. Even without a five-year plan or a vision for a start-up business, we all have hopes and dreams. Whether your goal is maturing in faith, learning a new skill, or simply loving others better, discussing goals with your loved ones is a great way to develop deep, meaningful bonds. When family members can openly share dreams, new levels of closeness are unlocked. 

  3. Check on each other. Go beyond the surface level by asking questions about how your family is really doing. Close relationships are deepened by understanding thoughts and feelings—not by hearing scant descriptions of daily activities. When you ask loved ones meaningful questions, you glean background context about what’s weighing on them and uncover opportunities to help them.

  4. Create intentional time together. Spending quality time with loved ones is vitally important. Things like date nights, family game nights, and outings allow us to have fun together and discover shared interests. Time spent with loved ones creates opportunities for deep, meaningful conversations and helps you and your family “bear with one another in love”–no matter what comes your way.

These simple principles have stood the test of time. Relationships don’t grow deeper by accident; they grow when you intentionally build them. Just as there are no shortcuts to fitness or financial goals, there are no shortcuts to relational depth. It takes consistent, meaningful effort. 

So, apologize when you make a mistake. Share your hopes and dreams openly, check in on your loved ones, and be intentional about spending time with those closest to you. Over the years, I’ve seen many couples and families put extra effort into these simple things, and trust me, the extra effort is worth it.


Dan Seaborn is the founder of Winning At Home, Inc., an organization with counselors and coaches that serve over 1,500 client hours per month. Winning at Home also produces media resources and hosts special events aimed at helping marriages and families succeed. Dan has authored 15 books about marriage and family, and his advice has been broadcast to over 350 radio stations across the United States. As a columnist, he has written hundreds of articles about marriage and family and is frequently asked to speak on the topic. Dan holds a master’s degree in Christian Ministries from Indiana Wesleyan University. His best experience, however, has probably come from his own life: being husband to his wife, Jane, for more than 40 years, Dad to his four children, and Grandpa to eight grandchildren.