Whatever your family looks like there is always going to be some hard work needed to keep the family wheel moving. Life happens, children grow up and we face different life challenges that test our family relationships.
Like me, you may enjoy seeing other people’s family photos, and don’t they always seem perfect? But it’s helpful to remember that there is no magic wand that turns a family into a picture-perfect one. We’ve got to put the work in, give the cuddles, endure the occasional door slamming (grin), give and receive forgiveness and more. Yes, I admit that raising a thriving family is both fun and messy.
So, what can we do to help build a harmonious family despite all of life’s challenges?
Do you notice how easy it is to blame others when things go wrong in our relationships? We are naturally inclined to focus on the other person’s faults and forget that we may have a glaring log in our own eye.
The most important but challenging thing I’ve had to learn about relationships is that the only person I can change is myself. A great part of learning to relate to others involves learning more about ourselves. It’s important to always make time for reflection, slowing our brain down gives us time to see things clearly and acknowledge our frustration, fear, pain or fault. Only then can we make rational decisions on what we need to do differently. Taking time for reflection helps us to figure out how to deal with a similar situation in the future.
If we are not in touch with our emotional makeup, we will find ourselves in a cycle which can lead to immense frustration.
We grow when we learn to take responsibility for ourselves’
Last Easter I wrote one of my most read blog post which was inspired by a family holiday. I wrote about how precious family is to God, and what He did to get His family back. God has modeled to us how to love and fight for our families. He showed His love for His family by making the greatest sacrifice of all. He sacrificed His son for us – his family.
Anyone who has raised children will understand what sacrificial love is. Staying up all night to care for a sick child or giving up a career to give them a stable home experience. We don’t do it to receive a prize or because they ask us to. We sacrifice our comfort because we love our children and value their family experience.
I agree with one writer who describes Motherhood as an act of worship to God. Worship isn’t only restricted to singing praises, its ‘relational and sacrificial’ she goes on to say. So when you feel like you’ve given all you can give to your family, look up and smile for God is smiling back at you, pleased with your worship.
I don’t know about you, but my husband and I didn’t graduate from family and relationship school before starting out. Like most couples, we jumped in expecting the happily ever after. But if we consider our family relationships precious, then it’s never too late to start learning. As parents, we are the foundation for our children and our marriage relationship matters.
Last year my husband and I had the opportunity to join other couples on a marriage course. It’s a great program run by Family Life UK. Its vision is to see strong and thriving families which reflect the heart of God. Being with other couples and realising that we all face similar challenges was both liberating and empowering. The course helps couples learn about each other at a deeper level and then equips them to face future challenges with confidence.
You may also consider investing in family counseling or a relationship coach, books and other resources on family and marriage.
About three years ago I had a few things I wanted to see happen in my family. I wrote my prayer list on the front of a book. About 2 years passed and I forgot all about the list until one morning when I stumbled upon it. I read through the list tearfully as I realised every one of my prayers on the list had been answered in one way or another.
When we pray, we allow God to come into our situations. He works alongside us and sometimes behind the scenes to help us in our challenges of raising a family that reflects His heart.
I would like to read your tips on family life.
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