Tips to Nurture a Healthy Family
Everyone desires success. We want it in our education, in our careers, and in our homes. But what are the parameters for success in a family? Is it a lack of problems? Every family faces challenges, unexpected curveballs, and periods of highs and lows.
Is it fitting the mold of the conventional family makeup? That traditional picture consisting of a dad, a mom, and two children is no longer the norm. All families are different. They are made up of couples without children, single parents, blended families, grandparents raising children, foster families, and several other configurations.
The formula is not the same for every family. There are so many elements that can affect the health and success of your family that defining it in one statement could never do it justice. Consider instead the following ingredients that can contribute to the health and success of your family. Whatever the makeup of your family unit, work together to grow closer and stronger. As inevitable problems arise, weather the storm together.
Realistic Expectations and Preparation
“Know also that wisdom is like honey for you: If you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off” (Proverbs 24:14). Many couples do not understand what marriage truly means. The belief that just being in love is enough to keep their marriage strong and to keep them together forever is naive. A good marriage takes time and effort, skill, flexibility, patience, compromise, determination, and a commitment to each other and to God. Christian premarital counseling helps prepare a couple for the reality of holy matrimony.
Different Needs of Men and Women
“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10). It should come as no surprise that because men and women are different, their needs are going to be different. A need is defined as an essential thing, not simply a desire or a want, something necessary to a person's health and well-being. Much more than the physical needs, a husband or wife will do well to meet the most important emotional needs of their spouse in order to strengthen their overall intimacy.
“The husband is the head… as Christ is the head of the church… and he is the Savior” (Ephesians 5:23). The key element here is to remember that the model for the head of the home is Christ Himself. Husbands need to lead their homes in the same way that Christ is head of the church, leading as her servant with love, patience, and forgiveness.
“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him” (Psalms 127:3). A parent's first priority is for their children to hear the gospel and have the opportunity to come to know Christ. At the same time, parents must be sure to meet the emotional and physical needs of your children which will ensure they grow up healthy and strong.
Communication is Essential
“The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice” (Proverbs 12:15). Successful families communicate by using words that are bathed in love. At the same time, they practice active listening trying hard to understand the words, the message, and the feelings the other is trying to express.
“In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry” (Ephesians 4:26). Conflict is a normal, natural part of every relationship. Often Ephesians 4:26 is understood to mean that you should not go to bed angry. But what the apostle Paul was saying was that problems will not go away if you ignore them. Again, conflict is not the problem but rather ignoring it, hoping it will simply go away on its own, or the way you manage it.
Forgiving and Letting Go
“But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:15). The person who gains the most from forgiveness is the person who does the forgiving. Forgiveness involves letting go. Remember playing tug-of-war as a child? As long as the parties on each end of the rope are tugging, you have a war. But when someone lets go, the war is over. When you forgive, you are letting go of your end of the rope. No matter how hard one may tug on the other end, if you have released your end, that war is over for you.
“As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15). What does it mean to be a spiritual family?
- Worship together. The spiritual family chooses to attend and be involved in a church that teaches the Word of God from the pulpit, from each Sabbath school class, and from every platform of leadership.
- Honor God's Word and apply it in your home. Recite scriptures to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise (Deuteronomy 6:7).
- Make prayer a regular part of your home life. You may remember a familiar slogan, "The family that prays together, stays together." The statement is more vital today than ever. Remember, a prayerless family is a powerless family.
Truth about Money
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). Children need to understand, from our example, that everything belongs to God and we’re simply stewards of everything He gives us. The system of tithes and offerings, besides being a way to support the ministry and mission of the church, helps us to be less selfish and more generous.
Recognize and Reach Out
"Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand” (Matthew 12:25). The constant cycle of repeating arguments about the same problems is a clear sign things aren't working and you need help. Successful families are not afraid to seek help when needed. After all, getting help is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength.
Positive Memories and Traditions
“So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter” (2 Thessalonians 2:15). Traditions provide cherished family memories. Some of the traditions of successful families may include spiritual elements such as daily family worship, church attendance, and volunteer service. But there are many other ways of building positive memories such as how we celebrate birthdays, family vacations, and other special events.
It may seem overwhelming to look at this entire list of ingredients and attempt to tackle them all at once. So, we encourage you to add one ingredient at a time. Little by little, your recipe will take on the form of a healthy, successful family whose members will share eternity in heaven.
Drs.Claudio and Pamela Consuegra are the Family Ministries Directors of the North American Division.