April 10, 2021

A Family Need Not Be an Island

Why is it that Families tend to have trouble once children grow up?  Each generation has its own thoughts about what is good and what is not.  I’m aware of many families that have different (sometimes radically different) ideas about everything from the number of children a family should have, to where the family should live (close to his family, close to hers, equidistant), to how the husband and wife will act with each other.

Bethanie brought this out in a post last week where she mentioned how she was just helping her husband by getting something for him as well as herself at her mother’s house and the mother spoke condescendingly of her action.  I would respond that as long as she’s doing what the Lord wants her to be doing, her horizontal relationship with her spouse and her vertical relationship with God are her primary importance.  And yet how do we show honor to our parents?

For one thing, we need to remember that they have wisdom that comes with time– we must take heed to consider what they have to say rather than ignore it.  Honor says that we value your contribution and your love for us, but it does not mean we have to obey or agree.

But there also must be an understanding between the child and the parent so that the parent realizes that they are no longer the boss or head of the child.  In this case, the daughter married a man who is now her head.  She’s to be concerned about her relationship to him more than to her family.  God said the two should be one flesh for a reason.  You cannot operate as a whole if one part is constantly going the opposite direction as the other.

Families don’t have to be islands, and yet a majority are because we all have a desire to have our own way, and it’s hard to think of others (especially if they once were children in your house) as responsible adults that should have their decisions respected.

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One thought on “A Family Need Not Be an Island

  1. I’m so blessed to have parents that have the unconditional love thing down pat! I only hope and pray I’m like that to my sons in laws someday. I believe that what happens between spouses should stay between them, but honestly, my parents have been a sounding board for many a marriage, including some pretty devastating ones for their own children and they’ve never stopped loving/praying for the “offending” in law. Their attitude towards them remains as gracious and non-judgemental as it ever was. Such grace is truly amazing. I remember wondering how they could still genuinely love a son in law who could be an alcoholic with all sorts of mean qualities…but they did. They love as God loves.

    So I’m really blessed. But I have been on the other side where the reactions of family to how I am, how I raise my kids, the things I believe strongly in…have left me wanting to retreat and be an island. I’m so blessed to have wonderful in-laws, even if we disagree on certain things, they’re not major things. I think we have to be careful not to let our “hurts” distance us from people. Once when my daughter was 4 she sang Silent Night in Spanish at our family Christmas. Her cousin sang “Grandma got ran over by a reindeer”. Guess whose song was more popular? Not ours. What hurt my feelings was that everyone made over the other one’s song like you wouldn’t believe and hardly said anything to my daughter. (that in itself is hard to swallow). The other thing was my pride was offended that they would enjoy such a “stupid” song more than they would one that truly reflected “Christmas” (imo). I’ve learned since then that these things could drive a wedge between me and dh’s family if I let them. I can’t let them. I so don’t want to be self-righteous, what kind of testimony is that anyway? Another opportunity to “die to self”. It hurts. It hurts your pride, your feelings. But if you go the self-pity, anger route, ultimately the hurt will go beyond you to the ones you love most.

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