In episode 166 a few months ago I shared stories about how we can experience the joy of relationships when people spread a little relational sunshine around. Today’s episode is another story that shows how it’s done. A story that will make you smile. One you can adapt to spark joy in your own relationships.

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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.

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Someone with a need

Today’s example of the joy of relationships started with my wife, Janet, and a particular need she had. We were preparing for a week at Forest Springs, a Christian camp where we’ve been going to for years with our son and his family. Janet felt the need for a pedicure before we went and checked in to the place where she’s gone for this in the past. This time, though, She was disturbed by how much it was going to cost, as they had recently raised their rates.

Sensing this problem, I offered to solve it. Because I’m a guy and that’s what we do.

“Let me paint your toenails, Janet,” I said gleefully.

“I’ve never done it before, but how hard can it be? I’ll watch a YouTube video to learn how. There are paint brushes in a tin can down in the basement I can use. All you need to do is get the paint you want, and we’ll be good to go. Think how much money we’ll save!”

One joy of relationships is feeling free to ask for help

Her response surprised me as it was not as appreciative as I had expected. She was not as confident in my skill level in this kind of thing as I was.

“I think I’ll ask Eleanor instead“, Janet replied. “I like the way she does her own toes; she’s quite artistic, and maybe she’ll do mine.”

Yeah, right I thought. Eleanor is our 17-year-old granddaughter and was quite busy with tennis lessons, ballet practice, and her part-time job at Target. I know her heart would be in the right place, but she won’t have time.

A few days later Janet asked Eleanor if she would give her a pedicure. In the blink of an eye, Eleanor said, “Sue, Grandma. Of course. We’ll make it a spa day!”

A week later Eleanor drove over to our house for her and Janet’s “Spa Day.” She’s only 17, and I’m just starting to get used to her driving. I used to drive her to school every Tuesday, and now she’s driving herself. She’s growing up way too fast.

The joy of relationships in blessing someone

Anyway, she came to our house and went off into our small room where we have our TV and started in on Janet’s toes. About halfway through the procedure, I wandered in and snapped a photo of our artist at work. It’s the cover photo for today’s episode. Be sure to look at it if you haven’t already done so.

Walking out of the room I thought, what kind of kid does this kind of thing? There are adults working at beauty salons for a living who hate the idea of touching someone’s feet. Yet here Eleanor is doing this willingly. That evening I posted the photo on Facebook with the comment, You know your granddaughter loves you when she paints your toenails. That’s the kind of kid who does that kind of thing. A girl who loves her grandmother.

The scene so reminded me of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples. Both scenes depict the joy of relationships. One person serving the needs of another. One person blessing another.

The joy of relationships in watching others

In reflecting on the photo I took and what it captures I witnessed the joy of relationships on several levels. It starts with Janet feeling free to ask Eleanor to help her, knowing how busy our granddaughter was. Eleanor could easily have said, I’d love to, but I’m too busy, and Janet would have understood. She would have been okay with that.

Janet loves getting her toenails painted, and she felt blessed that Eleanor did this for her. Her joy tank was filled to overflowing.

I felt joy in watching how this incident brought out the best in Eleanor. Whenever we willingly serve others it brings out the best in us. We were made for this, you know.

I also felt Joy in seeing how my son and daughter-in-law raised Eleanor. Teenagers don’t inherently want to paint their grandmother's toenails. Her parents disciplined her well at an early age, and instilled virtues in her that make joy in relationships possible.

For me, I felt the joy of relationships just watching this bonding activity of our granddaughter with Janet. It had nothing to do with me, but it filled my heart with joy to see them relating with each other like this.

When all 10 toes were painted to perfection, Janet and Eleanor left the house to go out for lunch and a little shopping – a perfect ending to their spa day.

So what does all this mean for YOU?

How can you use what you’ve heard today to improve the relationships in YOUR life? A couple of ideas from this episode come to mind.

  • First off, ask for help from someone you normally wouldn’t ask. Even ask a teenager. They can do more than we often give them credit for.
  • Look for the Spirit of God working in the lives of people around you.
  • Be sensitive to what pleases others. Be a joy giver, not just a joy watcher
  • Watch people interact with each other. Develop your people-watching skills. Cultivate a holy curiosity.
  • Observing the joy of relationships between two strangers can fill your heart, too.
Here’s the main takeaway I hope you remember from today’s episode

One of the great joys of life is the joy of relationships. We experience it by delighting in blessing other people, watching others do the same, and being thankful when people bless and delight in us.


I’d love to hear any thoughts you have about today’s episode. In closing, I hope your thinking was stimulated by today’s show, enough to put into practice what you’ve just heard about creating opportunities to experience the joy of relationships.

For when you do, it will help you experience what God wants for you. Because after all, You Were Made for This.

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. The link is

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. Goodbye for now.

Related episodes you may want to listen to

166: How to Spread a Little Relational Sunshine
139: Why Should I Listen to This Podcast?
021: The Most Important Relationship of All

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