What Is Weakening Our Families And What Can We Do To Change It?
There are two very important things I gleaned from my day with the Relate family. One, that the family as we know it is in danger of going the way of the dinosaurs and two, that there is a group out there also working with an intense fervor towards its preservation.
What is a family? Defining a family is not an easy task these days since the dynamics keep changing. Changes in legislation and popular beliefs have transformed the understanding of family structure. But the working definition is that a family is a unit where there are parents and children.
The family is not merely an invention of society, but an institution founded by God himself. The family is God’s plan of sustaining human life on earth. Our very existence as a society is contingent on the success of the family. Therefore the threat against family is a threat against our society as well. We need practical, efficient and effective ways to hold the families together and perhaps make them stronger than before.
According to the very diverse but Christian group brought together by the event; no one is happy; wives know that they are doing a bad job and it depresses them. Husbands know that they are literally paying for the pleasure and affection of their wives and this is destructive. Everyone is dissatisfied and unhappy.
In a society that is increasingly becoming individualistic, it is understandable that the desire to satisfy one’s human appetites takes precedence over what society needs. According to Aunty Theo, one of the facilitators of the Relate Family event, most marriages these days don’t last beyond five years. And we are talking strong Christian marriages here.
The only hope is for Christians to proclaim and reassert the divine standard from God’s Word—and especially to live it out in their own family lives. Christians must hold firmly to the distinctive biblical pattern for the family. And the church must begin again to articulate without fear or shame what the Word of God says about the family.
Developing a healthy and disciplined family is a demanding task that requires more than merely a wish that things were better. It requires understanding how the family works, what it desires, what strengthens it and what weakens it and then applying that knowledge.
The bible is very clear on the divine pattern for family life; confusion comes when people try to fit the Bible’s teaching into the framework of contemporary life. In Ephesians 5:22—6:4 we read instructions for husbands, wives, children, and parents.
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”
And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.
These are the elusive elements of a successful family but the greatest is love; if you cannot love yourself, you cannot love others and you cannot stand to see others loved. If you wish the world to become loving and compassionate, be loving and compassionate with yourself and your family.
I would love to see our generation become the one that restores hope and integrity to the family. I hope that this is the generation that stops complaining and sets a trend of revival and rejuvenation.