In episode 192 I explained my rationale for suggesting that our word of the year for this year should be READ. Go to If you missed it. Reading about relationships is a simple way to enjoy better relationships in 2023. For example, in today’s show, I share an article I read recently that I found quite freeing when it comes to dealing with a delicate relationship issue. It’s a relationship concept I read about that I’m sure you will find helpful, too.

But before we get into today’s episode, here’s what this podcast is all about.

Welcome to You Were Made for This

If you find yourself wanting more from your relationships, you’ve come to the right place. Here you’ll discover practical principles you can use to experience the life-giving relationships you were made for.

I’m your host, John Certalic, award-winning author and relationship coach, here to help you find more joy in the relationships God designed for you.

To access all past and future episodes, go to the bottom of this page to the yellow “Subscribe” button, then enter your name and email address in the fields above it. The episodes are organized chronologically and are also searchable by topics, categories, and keywords.

Reminder about last week's episode

Before I share the article I read about the sensitive relationship issue I mentioned, I want to remind you of how we left off with last week’s episode, #197, “We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know.” This is the one where a listener I called Emily wrote in to say in that she doesn’t have any close friends, doesn’t understand how relationships work, and feels overwhelmed by them.

I asked you for suggestions on what to say to someone like her. So I’d appreciate your thoughts on this matter, and so would Emily. You can send them in an email to me,, or you can leave them in the “Comment” box at the bottom of the show notes. I will need them soon.

If you missed that episode, you can find it I’ll have a link to it below.

All right. On to this relationship article I’ve been referring to. It recently appeared in the Wall Street Journal, much of which I’m quoting here. It will help you devlope better relationships in 2023.

“Simple Condolences Are Underrated”

“Both my parents died in the past few months, leaving me an orphan in midlife. As I am an only child, they took with them the remembered archives of their marriage and my girlhood. The loss is tremendous.

“The language to mark it isn’t. ‘I am so sorry,’ people say. ‘You are in my thoughts,’ or ‘for short, ‘My condolences.’ I used to think that simple statements like these, which seem like platitudes show a lack of sensitivity and imagination. I thought that sympathy needed to be buffered through personalized language that reflected the character of the dead person and anticipated the state of mind of the survivor.

“In years gone by, I spent ages at my desk, straining to come up with something fresh to say to a grieving friend, and once or twice felt so inadequate to the task that I didn’t say anything.”

You don’t have to be creative

“How I regret that now. Until my parents died, I had no idea how welcome simplicity can be. A statement such as ‘ Our hearts are with you ‘ doesn’t feel canned when your heart is aching. It feels like consolation. Traditional condolences convey that the thing that’s happened is so profound that novelty is beside the point. In their accessibility, the standard phrases acknowledge the universality of loss. And given their formulaic nature, they make possible a simple and painless response.

“‘Thank you, I really appreciate that,’ I’ve said countless times these past weeks. And you know what? I’ve meant it every time. I really appreciated the expression of fellow feelings. I really have appreciated people’s use of compassion shorthand that lets them off having to say something original and lets me off having to talk about how I’m feeling or go into detail about how it all came about.

“My parents were unique and irreplaceable….. That these two people should leave the world before their daughter is as commonplace as winter snow in midcoast Maine where they lived …… It has taken many generations to refine the words of bereavement to an elegant sufficiency. I now understand that there’s no need to come up with a custom-designed remark when someone dies. What sounds like a platitude will do nicely.”

– Meghan Cox-Gurdon. the author of The Enchanted Hour: The Marvelous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction.

So here’s what I learned from what I read: I don’t need to be creative or profound when greeting a person who has lost someone they loved. This sure takes the pressure off. I hope it does for you, too. What a freeing truth I learned to help make for better relationships in 2023.

And it came from something I read.

So what does all this mean for YOU?

If you want better relationships in 2023, or any year for that matter, what are you reading these days to help yourself in this area? It’s easy to complain about the state of some of our relationships. But they can improve if we make an effort to read how to do it.

For we can learn from the experiences of others who write about what works in their relationships, and what doesn’t.

The “I’m sorry for your loss” article is one small example. There are even better ones found in the Bible. Romans 12 in the New Testament and the Book of Proverbs in the Old Testament are jam-packed with relationship wisdom we can put into practice today. I’ve done past episodes about these sources that can help you achieve better relationships in 2023. I’ll have links to them in the show notes below.

If you forget everything else from today’s episode, here’s the one thing I hope you remember

You will enjoy better relationships in 2023 when you read how to develop and nurture them from wise authors who know what they’re talking about it. While there’s a lot of questionable relationship advice floating around out there, there is much relational wisdom available to us if we look in the right places. The Bible is one such place.


In closing, I’d also love to hear any thoughts you have about today’s episode. I hope your thinking was stimulated by today’s show to read something that will help you achieve better relationships in 2023.

Lastly, I mentioned in last week’s episode that season 7 would be ending with episode 200 in just two weeks. I’ll then be taking a break from podcasting for a time to work on a few projects to better serve you. I’ll still be writing about relationships from time to time and I’d like to keep you in the know.

If you’re on my email list I’ll send you articles like I just read that I come across that I think you would find interesting and helpful in nurturing your relationships.

But if you’re not getting my Wednesday email, you’re not on my email list. To get on it, just go to

Well, that’s it for today. If there’s someone in your life you think might like to hear what you just heard, please forward this episode on to them. Scroll down to the bottom of the show notes and click on one of the options in the yellow “Share This” bar.

And don’t forget to spread a little relational sunshine around the people you meet this week. Spark some joy for them. And I’ll see you again next time for episode 199, just two left before season 7 closes down. Goodbye for now.

Last week’s episode

197: We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know

All past and future episodes

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