Family By The Book
“Stakes in the Ground That Will Anchor Your Family”
With traditional family values under attack from several directions, it’s important for us to establish some key areas to focus our attention on. These ‘stakes’ in the ground will help to protect existing relationships, redeem broken ones and be pro-active in succeeding in our lives together.
First, GUARD THE AFFECTIONS OF OUR HEARTS TOWARD OUR SPOUSE.
There are not many marriages that did not begin with strong affections. There was just something about that person of interest that piqued our imagination, pulled on our emotions and made us want to spend time together.
Back then, there were just two and keeping affection alive was a bit easier. Now, however, our spouse has some competition … children, pets, heavier and busier schedules and a thousand other things that can sap affection from our daily routines.
Don’t let it. Consciously push that emotional touch back into your routines. Loving looks, offers of service and time spent ‘on purpose’ in commonly shared enjoyments will help rekindle a flame that may seem about to go out.
Second, CLOSE THE EMOTIONAL BOOK ON THE PAST, BUT KEEP THE PRESENT AND FUTURE ALIVE IN YOUR PLANS AND PRAYERS.
Your future is not behind you. Every one can look back and spot disappointments. We’ve all let our spouse down and failed to be the man or woman we’d like to be known as. But if those failings have been addressed, confessed, forgiven … then our attention must turn toward the future.
We can’t spend time lamenting failed opportunities in the past. At some point, that door must be closed and we must walk through the door in front of us. Just as worrying about what’s coming ahead of you isn’t much help, neither is rehashing the past over and over again.
We live in the present and how we live it will, in large measure, determine what our futures will be like. With optimism and hope we look ahead and we ‘pray’ ahead, asking God to lead us along his chosen path for our lives. And then we move into that God-ordained future. No ‘stutter step’ … move confidently.
Third, BE OPEN AND TRANSPARENT WITH YOUR KIDS – DON’T CLOSE OPEN DOORS OF COMMUNICATION – OPEN WITH DILIGENCE ONES THAT HAVE BEEN CLOSED.
Relationships die without communication. As we live together and life happens, we tend to communicate less but assume we’re still doing fairly well at it. And at times our kids can give us the impression (very strongly at times) that they are no longer interested in hearing what we have to say.
But they don’t always mean it.
Keep the lines of communication open by spending time talking and listening to your children. Don’t listen while doing something else! That form of multi-tasking is sure to spread the message that what is being said is not all that important. Work hard to allow your children to speak honestly with you. No disrespect shown in either direction.
If you have a child who has quit talking, gently push on that door … just enough so they know you have an interest in them. Spend some one-on-one time with them and don’t use it for a ‘dump session’ but listen to whatever they say for a clue to what is going on inside them. Woo them back by your respectful attitude and patience.
Family is too important not to invest in it whenever we can. Don’t take those relationships for granted. They’re gifts from God in your life. Take whatever time you must to make them the very best they can be. God will applaud your effort.
Yours for strong families,
Paul Walterman, Fresh Heart Ministries