Don't Let Your Past Define Your Future Relationships

By Michelle Lunka, MS, LMFT | December 15, 2023 

Years ago the Kendrick Brothers wrote a revolutionary book called The Love Dare (S & A Kendrick, 2008). On Day 7 they introduced the imagery of the “Appreciation Room” and the “Depreciation Room.” I remember as I read it, the wave of emotions that came over me as I thought about all the applications of this image. The truth is I find myself often sitting across from a client who has a beautiful heart, but has found themselves in a place of despair about a relationship in their life. They once had big dreams for the relationship. They wanted to love fully and with abandon. But in that moment, often gradually, sometimes quickly, they just can’t find that flickering light of love. It’s as if their heart has gone dark.

Loving humans isn’t easy. Entering into a relationship, whether with a significant other, a child, or even a friendship, means we will have opportunities to write on the walls of both rooms, and ultimately to choose a door. We are choosing a door each time we interact with someone – do I choose to see their positive qualities and therefore view our interactions with positive intent, or do I enter the relationship already assuming the worst and full of disgust, hurt, or anger? Likewise, even when we are not in their presence, we are choosing a door. Are our thoughts shining a light on their strengths and gifts, or are we adding to the Depreciation Room walls even in their physical absence? How do we portray them to others in our conversations? Are we helping others to see their beauty and delight, or are we forming an army of dislike towards them?

[Love]…believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. – 1 Corinthians 13:7 NKJV

Our thoughts influence our feelings and our feelings come out in our behavior. It can be an ugly cycle we get lost in, or it can uplift us and reinforce the positives. That is, if we hunker down in the Depreciation Room, we’ll find our feelings growing darker and angrier. We will ACT darker and angrier towards our loved one and in general. Or we can choose to close the door and walk into the Appreciation Room and fix our eyes on the positives of our loved one and watch our hearts grow. It’s the holidays as I write this and I’m picturing the Grinch at the end of the movie, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas – his heart growing bigger and pounding louder, right out of his chest. It’s the “ahh” moment of the movie, the point at which all the terrible things he’s done are wiped away and we believe in the power of one little girl’s belief in the goodness of all, even The Grinch. When our minds are fixed on the positives of our loved one, our heart grows bigger towards them, and we can’t help then but also act more loving towards them. Oh, the writings on the walls of the Depreciation Room are no less true, but they just matter less.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins. – 1 Peter 4:8 NIV

…if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart]. – Philippians 4:8 AMP

Is today the day you need to close the door to the Depreciation Room, walk down the hallway to the Appreciation Room, and turn the light back on?

Love never fails. – 1 Corinthians 13:8 NKJV

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Years ago the Kendrick Brothers wrote a revolutionary book called The Love Dare (S & A Kendrick, 2008). On Day 7 they introduced the imagery of the “Appreciation Room” and the “Depreciation Room.” I remember as I read it, the wave of emotions that came over me as I thought about all the applications of this image. The truth is I find myself often sitting across from a client who has a beautiful heart, but has found themselves in a place of despair about a relationship in their life. They once had big dreams for the relationship. They wanted to love fully and with abandon. But in that moment, often gradually, sometimes quickly, they just can’t find that flickering light of love. It’s as if their heart has gone dark.

Loving humans isn’t easy. Entering into a relationship, whether with a significant other, a child, or even a friendship, means we will have opportunities to write on the walls of both rooms, and ultimately to choose a door. We are choosing a door each time we interact with someone – do I choose to see their positive qualities and therefore view our interactions with positive intent, or do I enter the relationship already assuming the worst and full of disgust, hurt, or anger? Likewise, even when we are not in their presence, we are choosing a door. Are our thoughts shining a light on their strengths and gifts, or are we adding to the Depreciation Room walls even in their physical absence? How do we portray them to others in our conversations? Are we helping others to see their beauty and delight, or are we forming an army of dislike towards them?

[Love]…believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. – 1 Corinthians 13:7 NKJV

Our thoughts influence our feelings and our feelings come out in our behavior. It can be an ugly cycle we get lost in, or it can uplift us and reinforce the positives. That is, if we hunker down in the Depreciation Room, we’ll find our feelings growing darker and angrier. We will ACT darker and angrier towards our loved one and in general. Or we can choose to close the door and walk into the Appreciation Room and fix our eyes on the positives of our loved one and watch our hearts grow. It’s the holidays as I write this and I’m picturing the Grinch at the end of the movie, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas – his heart growing bigger and pounding louder, right out of his chest. It’s the “ahh” moment of the movie, the point at which all the terrible things he’s done are wiped away and we believe in the power of one little girl’s belief in the goodness of all, even The Grinch. When our minds are fixed on the positives of our loved one, our heart grows bigger towards them, and we can’t help then but also act more loving towards them. Oh, the writings on the walls of the Depreciation Room are no less true, but they just matter less.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins. – 1 Peter 4:8 NIV

…if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart]. – Philippians 4:8 AMP

Is today the day you need to close the door to the Depreciation Room, walk down the hallway to the Appreciation Room, and turn the light back on?

Love never fails. – 1 Corinthians 13:8 NKJV

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References

Kendrick, S., & Kendrick, A. (2008).  The Love Dare. Tennessee: B&H Publishing Group.

References

Kendrick, S., & Kendrick, A. (2008).  The Love Dare. Tennessee: B&H Publishing Group.