I was a Navy Brat and most of my life we lived far away from our extended family, so my dad, mom, brothers and I were and are very close. We did everything together and tell each other just about everything. I am thankful for the closeness of my family to this day.
I believe it is very special to have a close knit family, and it is not something that you find very often in the world today. Just because something isn’t common in the world today doesn’t mean we can’t pursue it. So, if you desire to grow your family together, creating lifelong relationships with each other, you can do it. It will take hard work, it will require time, but it is possible.
A Family Relationship is Hard Work
Your family knows you like no one else. They see you at your best and at your worst. You know what buttons to push on each other and what hurts each person most. Don’t forget though that you also know what means a lot to each one and how to comfort each other in difficult times.
Pursuing a strong family relationship when your kids are young is much easier than when they are older, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start if your kids are older. Beginning with older kids simply means that it will require more diligence, patience and time to grow deep a family relationship. The beautiful, lifelong relationships that await you are the reason you keep on keeping on.
There will be days when you don’t want to try anymore, times when you’d rather watch TV than play another board game, sleeping in sometimes gets traded in for a big Saturday/Sunday morning breakfast, etc. These are the times that you must push through, these are the things that your children will notice and that will strengthen your family relationship.
Learning to Say No
As your kids grow up they will want to go out and do more things, have their friends over all the time and desire to be on the move constantly. I firmly believe that the reason so many families struggle with their relationship together is because they don’t have quality time together.
We must learn to say no sometimes. There will always be “just one more” thing, outing, sport, TV show, etc. that wants to steal our time from our family relationship. As parents we must be diligent in guarding the time we have as a family and not let the next thing steal it from us.
Does this mean we can’t allow our children’s friends come over sometimes, do we have to put off all sports or TV shows, no it doesn’t. What it does mean is that we must be aware of how much we’re doing separately vs. together as a family.
Outside of each member’s relationship with the Lord and the Husband/Wife relationship, our family relationship needs to be the most important. Which means it needs to have the most time attributed to it outside of any other friend relationships and/or activities.
A Family Relationship Requires Planning
It is easy to think about planning for a date night between a husband and a wife, where do you want to eat, what movie do you want to see, etc. Somehow that is simple. Yet, taking the time to be intentional and plan how you’re going to spend time together as a family isn’t as easy. It is just as important to plan for your family relationship though.
I suggest that you sit down with a calendar as a family each month and plan out the days you don’t have anything planned and schedule an outing, activity, craft, etc. Write it on your calendar, somehow seeing it on paper helps us make it happen. It becomes harder to forget it once we’ve planned it.
What you plan doesn’t have to cost money and you don’t even have to leave the house. There are SO many possibilities for doing things frugally right at home. Movie nights, craft days, board game afternoons, camping in the backyard and trips to the Library are some of our favorite things to do as a family. Don’t let the thought of the cost of things hinder you building a family relationship.
Building a family relationship will take a lot of hard work, time, saying no and planning. Yet, the lifelong changes that you’ll see in each other and the strength of the relationship will far outweigh the “prices” you’ll pay today. I greatly encourage you to begin this process today, your children will thank you for all the time and effort you put into it when they grow up and you will be thankful for it when your children remain close to you as adults.