"You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross." Philippians 2:5-8 NLT
This is a classic passage describing God's love for us and the good news of Jesus Christ. God left the glory of heaven, put on our skin, paid the penalty due us, and gave us access to heaven as children of God. He knows what it is like to be us.
This passage also speaks to a profound relationship principle. The principle of incarnation. It's about putting on the other person's skin and looking at life through their eyes. Not viewing life as you think the other person should, or how you view their situation, but through their eyes. It takes humility, understanding, relationship, and willingness.
I use this principle in counseling, especially marriages. I try to get spouse to view issues through the eyes of their spouse. I ask them not to assign malice or make assumptions. Based on an objective perspective, how does their spouse view the issue? How might that make them feel? What does the spouse value?
This principle can be used in all relationships. Once when I was going on a job interview, I made a study of my perspective boss. It helped me to communicate more effectively. When I got the job, it helped me to serve him better, and lead to a promotion for me. I try to practice this principle with my wife Peggy. I've learned through failures and communication what is important to her. For example, I might like affirming words and gifts. But Peggy likes quality time and acts of service. When I spend time with her, listen to her, it tells her I love her. My completing a project around the house tells her I love her more than buying her a gift.
Practice the art of incarnation. It will enhance a good relationship. It may save a relationship in crisis.