I recently discussed how relationships with those around us are negotiations with others. We are constantly negotiating and defining the terms of our relationships with those around us. We define how close we are, what we share with each other emotionally and physically. Usually as we grow older these things increasingly are discussed and decided with more then just words.
I've been frustrated with this idea in my life because so much is communicated with those around us through our body language, what our tone of voice is, and so much more. All growing up I heard young adults despair about the dating. I think dating is the perfect example of a negotiated relationship. From the very first iteration you are negotiating the give and take that will define the future of the relationship. You negotiate how much physical intimacy you will have, how quickly you progress. What the action of holding hands or kissing means. Many of these things are defined by our individual preferences and comfort level. This concept of course applies much more than just dating, it applies to family relationships, work relationships and really all aspects of life. It is a give and take between two people.
However, one relationship that I find of greatest importance is less of a negotiation as it is a personal refining. I'm talking about our relationship with God. We, through prayer and our own actions, negotiate the terms of our lives with God. When you think about the idea that God is consistent (Hebrews 13:8, 2 Nephi 27:23) , that He does not change then you realize that the only thing that is changing, or being negotiated, is you. It's as if you are coming in to negotiate the terms of your surrender with the opposite side of war and realize that the only resistance was yourself. That half of the contract is already drawn up and was always there, the only choices to be made are yours as God has already made his.
In the LDS Bible dictionary under Prayer it says "...Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings...." if it is only our will that changes then truly the purpose of prayer is to refine us. It is to change us, not God.
Prayer and others ways of communication (such as the scriptures and revelation are ways that we communicate with God and define our relationship with Him. What a blessing it is to be have a loving Heavenly Father who helps us understand and better navigate relationships with everyone we meet.
I feel like this new perspective on relationships changes how I view my role in the negotiation. I will be kinder to the requests of others and act in a way that strengthens relationships.