My home growing up was a mixed bag. There are definitely happy times, but in the midst of chaos. Our family could be seen as the poster child for dysfunction. But it was all we knew. When I got married and decided to have a family, my wife and I determined that our family would be different… healthier, happier, more successful. For the most part, we achieved much of our hearts desire, but in fact, like all families, we missed the mark in many ways. Perfect parents don’t exist; perfect children do not exist. We are all doing the best we can
to have solid, healthy, happy marriages and families…. though we only too often follow the unconscious patterns we have learned from our family of origin… which can plague us and hinder our hopes and dreams. The goal is a healthy and happy marriage and family and presented in this booklet are the key principles that, if applied, can help us along that road. Again, there is no such thing as a perfect home…and if we are going to judge the parents by how the kids turn out, then I suppose God is the worst parent of all…look at how messed up his kids often are.
To get us started, I will lay some groundwork on issues that all marriages and families face, beginning with the leading family problems…but first…Jenny and Bruce were 24 and 22 when they married. Both were believers, she for 5 years and he for 2, but both were equally committed to a healthy marriage…for goodness sakes, they were in love, they had a great church they were a part of, they even had 5 sessions of pre-marital counseling with their pastor.
After two years of getting to know each other, they had their first daughter…followed by a son, and life was good. Bruce and Jenny were both working full time, and as one might imagine, life was busy…very busy. Most weeks whizzed by…time for each other, to communicate and for fun just wasn’t there…and with a strong willed son, the strain of trying to keep the kids in Christian school, and a change of pastor that unsettled their spiritual world a bit, both Jenny and Bruce were struggling with anxiety, depression and occasional outbursts of anger towards each other or even the kids…one thing was for certain…their love was still strong, and they still wanted the healthy happy family, but how to get on track was alluding them.
From research on the state of Marriage and family, there are four primary Issues that healthy and unhealthy marriages and families must work through.
- Communication problems: From simply learning to talk and listen, to very dys-functional patterns leading to pain and lack of intimacy.
- Financial problems: which are often seen as the largest stressor in any relationship. The problem is not always the lack of money, but the mismanagement of it, or the inability of couples to develop healthy short- and long-term financial goals and values.
- Emotional problems, such as anxiety and depression caused by life circumstances or other issues.
- Poor relationships with children: That is, not being on the same page in terms of child rearing in general, and discipline specific-ally.