Enrich Your Family Life, Part II
"Don't just pretend that you love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Stand on the side of the good. Love each other with genuine affection."1
Avoid inflammatory words
To enrich your family life, it is also important to avoid inflammatory words such as, "You never" or "You always." Such statements are rarely true. Put-downs also need to be avoided. They are thinly veiled expressions of hostility. It is much kinder to admit when you are feeling hurt or angry.
In his book, An Answer to Family Communications, H. Norman Wright tells of a study that compared happily married couples with unhappily married ones. The study showed that the happily married couples:
1. Talked more to each other
2. Conveyed the feeling that they understood what
was being said to them
3. Had a wider range of subjects available to them
to talk about
4. Preserved the communication channels and kept
them open no matter what happened
5. Showed more sensitivity to each other's feelings
6. And made more use of nonverbal techniques
Spending more time together is equally important for strengthening family relationships. When couples are too busy for this, they are too busy.
Families need to consider whether a father or mother should refuse a promotion if it means less time at home, or if parents should limit participation in activities to allow for family togetherness.
Conflicts also need to be faced and handled creatively.
"When a married couple says they've never had a disagreement, they are lying, have poor memory, or one partner has been made a zero in the relationship," says Clark Hensley, director of the Mississippi Christian Action Commission.
Wherever people live together some conflict is inevitable. Differences and frustrations (including money management and sexual problems) need to be talked about and resolved. If they aren't, they will eventually be acted out through depression, ill health, or broken relationships.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to understand what it takes to develop loving family relationships. And help me to practice and live what I learn. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
To be continued…
1. Romans 12:9-10 (NLT).