Enrich Your Family Life

Page 2

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.

Many reactions to conflict, however, are overreactions caused by unresolved conflicts from the past. For instance, if you had a "nagging" parent and your partner even appears to be "nagging," chances are your old feelings will be triggered and you will overreact.

When we overreact, the overreaction is always our problem. We need to accept responsibility for it and not blame others. Otherwise conflicts will remain unresolved.

To admit that one is overreacting is being mature. To blindly act out those feelings is immature. Instead, when your anxious emotions are triggered, donít deny these feelings but say to yourself, "How would I act in this situation if I weren't feeling so upset?" Then try to act accordingly and then verbalize your feelings without blaming the other person for them.

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.

If overreaction is a pattern of your behavior, do not hesitate to seek help from a competent pastor or counselor. To admit need for help is also a sign of maturity.

Forgiveness is another essential quality in healthy relationships

"Many marriages are gradually eroded and eventually destroyed because one person is unable to forgive," says Norman Wright. "A person who continually brings up something his spouse did or said in the past continues to punish the other person and erects a wall of coldness."1

As God forgives us when we confess our wrongs, we also need to forgive each other.2

Clear communications, doing things together, handling conflicts creatively, and forgiving each other are all vital for family harmony. However, the most important need is to put God at the center of your home. He can make a much better job of it than you can if you will daily commit your life to him and follow his divine order for the home.

Research has shown that families who are deeply committed to their Christian faith have a much better chance of having a happy marriage and home. A good way to start is by going to church this week as a family.

1. Family Life Today, 01/80. 
2. See Colossians 3:13.

Continued on Page Three Back to Page One


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