Making Families Strong - Part III
"Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord."1
Yesterday, according to Dr. Stinnett's research, we shared the first three characteristics that make a family successful and strong. They were as follows: commitment, spending time together, and effective communications. Today we discuss the other three characteristics.
FOURTH, strong families express appreciation to one another. Another common complaint I hear from husbands and wives is this: "I feel taken for granted and don't feel appreciated." I am sure, too, that many children feel the same.
It is so easy to say, "Thank you. I really appreciate you washing and ironing my shirts, cooking my meals, mowing the yard, cleaning up your room, leaving the bathroom tidy, taking out the garbage, bringing home the paycheckóbut most of all I appreciate you just because you're you."
FIFTH, happy families are able to solve problems in a crisis. Mature people know that crises come to every family simply because we live in an imperfect world. And while crises often drive weaker families apart, they draw stronger families together and help make them stronger. The strong may bend under a crisis but not break, and they always bounce back.
SIXTH, successful families have a strong spiritual commitment. Stinnett's research "found that strong families have a high degree of religious orientation and commitment. Not all belong to organized churches, but most do. They all consider themselves to be highly committed to their spiritual lives."2
A study conducted by sociologist Steven Nock of the University of Virginia supports this conclusion. His study showed that couples who attend church regularly are 42 percent more likely to be married for the first time, and those in the church who were strongly committed to its beliefs had a 23 percent better chance of having a "very happy" marriage than those who don't go to church.
People then who have happy marriages and strong families are those who are committed to making their families strong. They work hard at communicating effectively. They spend time together. They express love and appreciation. They accept crises as normal and know how to work through them, and above all they trust in God and apply their faith to everyday living.
Would you like to have a happier and stronger family? You can. A good place to start is by taking your family and/or yourself to a church or chapel this week where family living is honored and held in very high respect.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you again for the family which you have given for the benefit of all mankind. Help me to live in harmony with your will and make healthy family living one of my top priorities. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Colossians 3:20 (NIV).
2. Rekers, George, Ed., Family Building: Six Qualities of a Strong Family (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1985), p. 43. Logos Research Institute, Inc.