Yesterday I wrote about succeeding in relationships and then last night I received a copy of the October 2009 issue of Awake! magazine, a Bible based journal.  It is a special issue about succeeding in families.  It seemed fitting to me to write about this since so many families face trouble and it goes well with what I wrote yesterday.  Since I will only highlight what the magazine discusses, links are provided so that you may listen to an audio version in MP3 format or ACC format.  See below for the links.

So often families challenges and difficulties to the point that more than 50% of families in the USA break apart.  The USA has one of the highest divorce rates in the world.  We always here about what goes wrong and the problems families face that cause these break ups.  However, there are families that thrive and succeed.  What is the secret to success that these families enjoy?  There are 7.

Secret 1 – The Right Priorities…What comes first in your life?  For successful families, everyone else is more important than anything else.  A successful parent and spouse puts his or her family ahead of their self.  That means that their job, possessions, desires, friends, relatives, etc. all take a back seat in relation to their spouse and kids.  When both mates and parents can do this, it provides a rich loving atmosphere for the whole family.  What is priority in your life?

Secret 2 – Commitment…Do you view your marriage as a permanent union?  It’s easy to say yes.  However, in order to be sure, measure your commitment against the backdrop of problems.  When your marriage has difficulties, are you ready to bail out and leave?  Are you truly committed to your mate?  Too many view problems as a way out rather than an opportunity to grow.  Albert Einstein was noted as saying, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”  When each spouse has a sense of commitment to the marriage, then there is a feeling of security with each one trusting the loyalty of the other.  Are you committed to your marriage and to your mate?

Secret 3 – Teamwork…The Bible identifies an arrangement within marriage.  Ephesians 5:22-24 it says that the husband is the head of the family.  In order for any structure to function as it should, whether it is a business, organization or a family, there should always be someone in charge.  When both respect this “headship arrangement”, the family functions as it should.  Nevertheless, both husband and wife should view the marriage in terms of “we” or “ours” rather than “mine” and “me”.  Since marriage is the opposite of singleness, then the heart should be married, too.  Teamwork helps create intimacy between the two and a relationship that works.  It’s similar to a pilot and copilot working for the benefit of passengers.  In your heart, do you think as a single person or as a loyal member of an important team?

Secret 4 – Respect…There is no room in a marriage and a family for political correctness.  In other words, it is not loving to say one thing with the correct words but say it in such a way that the true meaning is understood by all.  Sarcasm, insults and abusive speech are not conducive to success.  When disagreements arise it is important to treat others as we want to be treated. (Matthew 7:12) Discuss matters openly but in a reasonable peaceful manner.  There is a difference between “reacting” to a situation and “responding” to a situation.  It is better to respond than react.  How do you handle difficulties in the family?

Secret 5 – Reasonableness…Literally, this word means to yield.  Who of us is perfect?  When we make a mistake is it not true that we desire forgiveness and hope others yield to our error?  It is important that we make allowances for error in our families.  Husbands and wives should freely forgive one another of mistakes, and when children need discipline it should neither be to rigid nor too permissive.  Household rules are necessary for peace just as in society, but they should be balanced and fair.  How reasonable are you in dealing with your family?

Secret 6 – Forgiveness…This is the easiest to want and the hardest to give.  How so?  We may think we easily forgive but how often have you used the expressions such as, “You are always late” or “You never listen.”  The usage of the words always and never are absolutes and leave no room for forgiveness.  They call to mind past actions or mistakes that should have been forgotten when forgiveness was granted.  Instead of bringing up the past, learn from past mistakes and move forward.  Going backwards never leads to success.  No one, including you, wants to be reminded of mistakes.

Secret 7 – A Firm Foundation…Family endurance is not an automatic process.  In order for any house or building to stand it needs a firm foundation.  A strong family needs a good foundation that is built on a source of guidance.  Just as one would need a repair manual to work on a vehicle, families need the same.  Whether one believes in God or not, the principles found in the Bible work.  They can serve as a solid base for which families can find success.  What source do you use as foundation for your family?

These 7 SIMPLE Secrets are key to succeeding in a securing a happy successful family.  Successful families create successful civilizations.  Imagine how better the world would be if the family unit was strengthened worldwide.  Do you want to succeed in your family?  The links to the complete article are listed below.  I know you will benefit from them.

To listen to this article online go to http://www.jw.org/index.html?option=QrYQZRQVNZNT and scroll down to the Awake! magazine section.  Click the MP3 or the ACC file to listen.

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