Relationships 7 minutes to read

As of this evening, one of the most anticipated sequels of my lifetime will be released in theaters. Okay, maybe not the most anticipated of my lifetime, but at least one that I’m really looking forward to.

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

As a child of the 90s, I grew up on Legos.

I remember getting Legos for everything––my birthday, Christmas, when I finally did my chores when my mom asked––and I loved them. From opening the box, looking through the directions, trying to do it without the directions, having to take it apart because I got stuck, looking at the directions again, and then completing the Lego. It was amazing!

Then, in 2014, they released The Lego Movie. It was visually stunning, hilarious, and had Batman in it (every movie with Batman in it is my favorite). The Lego Movie is about a seemingly insignificant, follow-the-rules guy named Emmet (voiced brilliantly by Chris Pratt). Emmet, like most main characters, finds himself faced with a big, scary set of events that threatens his world.

On his journey, Emmet meets all sorts of other cool and significant Legos. He meets Superman, Batman, Lucy (Wyldstyle), Unikitty, and even Han Solo. One of the things he discovers about these celebrity-esque Legos is that they are all Master Builders.

Master Builders have the ability to make something out of anything. If you need a ship, they can make a Lego ship out of any Lego pieces. If you need a gun, they can make a giant blaster out of any Legos. The more I think about it, the more I wish I was a Master Builder.

Anyway…

Emmet finds himself around a bunch of Master Builders and is asked to be the hero of the story. One small problem––he isn’t a Master Builder. This causes some serious issues for him and lowers the confidence that the other Master Builders have in him.

So, other than the fact that today is the release of The Lego Movie 2, why are we talking about this?

Thanks for asking!

What if we could be Master Builders of our relationships? What if we could make something awesome out of the seemingly insignificant pieces of our lives?

SPOILER ALERT: Later in The Lego Movie 1, Emmet unlocks his ability to become a Master Builder. Watch.

Emmet comes back to help his friends and starts to see how a bunch of separate pieces can fit together to create a giant robot to help defeat Lord Business. It’s a pretty cool scene!

So, now to why we are talking about The Lego Movie.


Just like Emmet and all the other Master Builders, what if we all were Master Builders, not of Legos, but of our relationships? What if we had the ability to see how anything, whether big or small, can be significant toward building a healthy and loving relationship?

The longer I’ve been married, the more I’ve come to realize that relationships are not built on big, dramatic, and romantic moments (thanks for nothing, Hollywood!); but built on daily, small, seemingly monotonous actions. Does this mean that those big romantic moments don’t happen? No, they certainly do. They are just more spread out in long-term, committed relationships.

As Emmet can see small, insignificant pieces that help build his giant robot, I see some small pieces that contribute to relationships that are built masterfully (see what I did there?).

DATE NIGHT

I know I’m not the first or the last to emphasize the importance of a regular date night, but I’ve had some recent inspiration from my wife that I wanted to share.

The last couple years, around Christmas, we’ve taken time to plan out some of our goals for the coming year. This year, one of the goals my wife presented was to have a date night each month. We alternate every other month on who plans the date, but she suggested a cool twist.

She offered, “What if, for at least six of the dates—half of our dates—we do something we’ve never done together?

At first, I didn’t fully buy in, but over some time, I’ve come to see the value in what she presented.

Often times, we get caught up in the “ol’ dinner and a movie” routine when it comes to our date night (this very much includes me). We go to one of the same four restaurants we like, we see a movie that’s way too expensive and neither of us loved, and go home to and maybe have sex…maybe.

The cool part of what my wife suggested is that it gives us something new and unknown to look forward to. It challenges us to look for new and exciting stuff to do together. It pushes us to try new things and create shared experiences together.

So, instead of the same old, same old type of routine, mix it up! Try something new. And be consistent in your pursuit of each other.

SERVING

Growing up, my mom used to say to us kids (or maybe it was just me): “If you loved me, you’d keep your room clean.

I used to think this sounded manipulative and she was just pushing around her motherly power. Well, I was an idiot. But I’m less of one nowadays. I now see what she was getting at and I see how it plays out in my marriage.

My mom wasn’t manipulating me: she was teaching me that love is not just shown in the “I ask” and “you do” type of actions. Love is proactive and considerate.

This is another one of those “seemingly monotonous” actions that can help build a healthy relationship.

My wife really likes things to be clean. Anyone else say AMEN? She does! The type of clean that’s like, “People aren’t even coming over for a month and the room needs to be clean” clean. And I’ve struggled with this concept until recently.

My wife explained it in a way that made sense to me and it finally clicked. While I still try to be aware and help her clean stuff around the house, I can at least try to keep my areas clean and tidy. Am I doing this because I want her to love me and appreciate me? No, I’m doing this because I love her and want her to know that I see her and understand what she values.

Just like my mom said, “If you love me, you’ll keep your room clean,” if I love my wife, I’ll help keep the house tidy.

Doing the small things of service go a long way in building healthy and loving relationships. Ask your spouse, your boyfriend or girlfriend, “What are things I do that make you feel loved?” And then do those things, whether they’re big or small. Your relationship will grow.

INVEST ELSEWHERE

When you read the header for this section, you might be curious as to where I’m going with this—let me relieve your curiosity.

Investing in outside relationships is really healthy for your marriage or dating relationship.

Oftentimes, we can get so focused on pouring into our romantic relationship that we disregard the value and treasure of having other friends. If all we did was spend time with our spouse or boyfriend or girlfriend 24/7, we’d have a nervous breakdown.

Now, I’m not saying that we can’t enjoy being with those we love; I’m saying that sometimes we need to spend time with others.

There are times when I tell my wife to just head out, hang out with friends, and go do whatever she wants. I do this because I know that her relationship with her friends helps pour into her, encourage her, challenge her, and refresh her soul in a different way then our relationship. The same is true for me. When I get to hang out with my buddies, I always walk away encouraged and refreshed. And when you’re refreshed, you come back with new perspectives and new attitudes.

This benefits your marriage or dating relationship. Investing in other relationships will bring more encouragement into your life, and in turn, bring more encouragement to your marriage or dating relationship. Do it.


Most of us—hopefully, all of us—know there aren’t step by step instructions with pictures of how to build a healthy relationship. But does that mean we just give up and put the relationship back in the box and set it on the shelf? Or do we look for another set of instructions for what works for other relationships and try recreating ours to match?

The answer is no! 

Every relationship is different. Different people, different situations, different relationship.

This isn’t a bad thing, it’s actually what makes relationships so exciting and fulfilling. So, when you read my suggestions, don’t take them as a copy-and-paste type of thing for you to insert into your relationship. Find the pieces that work for you, that will help you create a healthy, beneficial, and loving relationship.

Put those pieces together, Master Builder.