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Build Sound Families

The family is a sharing social organization given to us by God, and therefore helps us grow closer to God as we help one another in building family.

My neighbors Chris and Julie have been installing a hardwood floor in his living room. Chris has several hammers on the floor where he’s installing the hardwood strips. Each has a specific purpose. Using the wrong type of hammer will work, but each hammer has a function that makes installation more effective.

Function plays a role in building sound families, too. Each person has a relationship to fulfill. Helping adults who are planning to get married or who have gotten married recently understand their roles and functions can help them lay a firm foundation for life.

Among other functions, a family helps each person discover how to build relationships, find belonging and personal significance, and learn to live in broader social contexts. The family is a sharing social organization given to us by God, and therefore helps us grow closer to God as we help one another in building family. How can we help prospective and new families grow?

Teach that family is about relationships

Family is about WE, not ME. Many young couples get off to a weak start in their marriages because their focus is individual, rather than individual through a collective unit. When teaching about issues that relate to families, emphasize elements of compromise, cooperation, balance, and creation of a new identity.

Teach that family is a shared culture

Regardless of how long couples date before marriage, a new family is a new culture, one made up of the histories and experiences of completely different biological units. Even when two adults come from similar family backgrounds, the new family still requires a discovery process of how each person perceives and interprets actions, traditions, roles, values, and so forth. When teaching about issues that relate to individuals, help learners discover how to identify experiences and expectations that grow out of cultural background. Some cultural experiences might need adjustment based on competing or conflicting values within those cultures.

Teach that family is based on communication

Emotions block communication all too often. But so do cultures and expectations. Adults need to learn to discuss differences and expectations, and need to be taught how to settle competing desires. Conversations about everything from who does the cooking to where the couple will go for holidays can be constructive, and can be especially helpful if handled before decisions must be made or conflict develops. When teaching about biblical issues where competing values or standards are evident, include instruction for how Christians today encounter conflict and how they can resolve or prevent conflict early in marriage.

Teach that family is a place of attachment and belonging

The family should always be a place where members can go for comfort, encouragement, security, and love. Beyond the emotional idea so common today, love must be understood as a commitment that includes warm feelings for one another, but also includes creating a place where the outside world can be left behind. In the family, we can expect respect, affirmation, help, and a sense of worth and belonging that we cannot find outside the family. When teaching biblical issues that relate to love and relationships, help young adults understand that time each day should be invested in one another in the family, regardless of housework, office work, or other issues that influence the family from outside.

Teach that family is about God

The family is a place where parents share their faith and discover how to help one another grow spiritually. In particular, this includes helping children and grandchildren grow spiritually, but it’s also a place where we teach by influence and role model. When teaching about faith and personal evangelism, include instruction about how the family is our first place for spiritual instruction.

When God created Eve, He created the first family

When adults today allow God and a personal commitment to faith in Jesus to be the foundation of their homes, the chances of lifelong marriage grow. But when teachers and church leaders teach how God’s Word can help families establish that faith foundation, the chances of strong faith relationships in the family increase even more.