3 Steps Toward De-cluttering Bogged Down Relationships

3 Steps Toward De-cluttering Bogged Down Relationships

‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:39


I’m de-cluttering my house. Slowly. Between various responsibilities it has taken awhile to complete my self-assigned task.

I started upstairs and moved items that needed to be culled downstairs to await further action. A couple of weekends ago, I spent a day sorting, but stopped about 2/3 the way done. Now I have piles. I get discouraged weaving my way through them as I pass through on the way to the laundry room.

One stack is storage for my son, now a Marine with no space to keep things. Another stack is for the thrift store and still another is for consignment. It will take time, energy, and determination to follow through to finish the job.

Just like our homes, relationships can get cluttered. Mired in hard feelings and careless words. Separated by well established boundary markers. Or appearing well kept on the outside, while harboring grudges and harsh thoughts inside. These kind of relationships seem to come out of the woodwork around Thanksgiving and Christmas. That season is almost here.

Before you end up toe to toe in front of a crowd, it’s a good time to de-clutter the junk taking up space in your relationships.

• Look at the junk you’re bringing into the equation. It takes two for conflict. Even if the other person has committed the “greater” offense, remember your own imperfections. Rare is the time when conflict is 100% the other person. Take care of your part. Even if they never take care of their part, all your other relationships will benefit from your change in behavior and attitude.

• Forgive and let go of the offense. Don’t throw it back in their face or complain about them to everyone around. We all make mistakes. Our tendency is to expect the other person to have it all together. None of us do. Offer the same grace to them you want others to extend to you. Even if they repeat the offense, forgiveness will root out any bitterness in your heart. And everyone will find you easier to be around.

• Give the relationship a second chance. Maybe you won’t be as close as before. Trust takes time to rebuild. Try calling a truce during your holiday gathering and test the waters of your relationship. And when either one or both of you mess up, pause and repeat step 1 and 2 all over again.

Some relationships need more than a simple de-cluttering. Sometimes, de-cluttering only takes care of your heart, while the other person will have to work further on theirs. But taking that first step can open the door for a better relationship down the road. And help you both enjoy the holiday a whole lot more.

As you look forward to family and friends you will be gathering with,
are there relationships that would benefit from a bit of de-cluttering?

Angela Meyer About Angela Meyer

Angela D. Meyer lives in Omaha, NE with her husband and daughter, where she writes women’s contemporary Christian fiction. She enjoys the ocean, good stories, connecting with friends, taking pictures, quiet evenings and a good laugh.


  1. I needed to read this, Angela. Thank you for posting this article. It is both good and true. I’m working on a very difficult forgiveness with a close relationship, and it is truly as you say such a wonderful foundation to open up the trust later down the road.

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