Making Families Strong Part II
"As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."1
Being concerned with what makes families healthy, Dr. Stinnett led a major international research project to learn the secrets of strong families. His studies included strong black, white, ethnic, and single-parent families in North America, South America, Switzerland, Austria, Germany and South Africa.
Dr. Stinnett's findings were discussed at a national forum held in Washington, D.C., where family specialists and leaders from various sectors of society gathered specifically to determine exactly what it was that made families strong. The content of these discussions is presented in the excellent book edited by Dr. George Rekers and titled, Family Building: Six Qualities of a Strong Family.
In the study led by Dr. Stinnett, 3,000 families were interviewed. Each one, regardless of its background, rated very high on marriage happiness and in their satisfaction with parent-child relationships. A considerable amount of information was collected, but, according to Dr. Stinnett, when thoroughly analyzed it boiled down to six major qualities.2
The research also showed that these qualities just didn't happen. People made them happen. They are the result of "deliberate intention and practice."
What then are these SIX CHARACTERISTICS that make a family successful and strong?
FIRST, strong families are committed to making the family work. Family members don't expect perfection from one another. They accept one another as they are, and accept responsibilities and work together as a team.
Their commitment goes far beyond feelings. Feelings are important and are integrated, but they come and go. They are variable. Commitment is constant. It is an act of the will. In other words, if we want a strong, happy family, we need to be committed to making it happen.
SECOND, happy families spend time together, not only quality time but quantity time. They work, they plan, they struggle, and they play together. This is much easier said than done, but done it must be if we want strong families.
THIRD, successful families have effective communications. The major complaint I hear, especially from wives on both sides of the Pacific, is a variation on the theme, "My husband doesn't understand my feelings nor does he share his."
To communicate effectively, each family member needs to be encouraged to express not only his or her thoughts, ideas, and opinions, but also his or her feelings in constructive ways and have them accepted. Without this there can be no intimacy and families end up as strangers living together alone.
To be concluded …
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that the family is a vital part of your design for all mankind so that people can live healthier and happier lives. May all who would seek to destroy the family as you designed it fail miserably in their attempts. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Joshua 24:15 (NIV).
2. Rekers, George, Ed., Family Building: Six Qualities of a Strong Family (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1985), pp. 38. © Logos Research Institute, Inc.