We had the Session 5 of the Marriage Course on last Wednesday. The session dealt with Parents and In-laws.
Do you know what is affecting your marriage? Our family background has a big influence on marriage. The session highlighted the different phases of family development in our growing up years: (1) Early years (2) teenagers (3) coming of age / leaving home (4) Getting married. These different phases of growth influenced us and unresolved childhood pain must be addressed otherwise this will carry over to the marriage.
How to create healthy family relationship? The session covered the following:
1. Resolved conflict. Identify the problem, apologize and forgive. This must be adhered to in order to heal broken relationships. Jesus taught us to forgive and we must learn to forgive although we may not feel like forgiving. Determine to forgive and move on.
2. Consider their needs. Show gratitude to our parents. Do not show your contempt for your in-laws or abuse their availability. Take the initiative to maintain contact. Call them regularly and set a good example for your children. We are to live at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18).
3. Let go of emotional dependence on parents. This does not mean you got nothing to do with your parents or parents-in-law. ‘Honor your father and mother’ is one of the Ten Commandments. But it is important that you do not abuse the relationship. Learn not to be emotionally dependent on your parents.
4. Make your own decision. Parents can be of great help to us in the early years of our marriage. It is important we listen to their advices and discuss issues with them to avoid any kind of misunderstanding.
5. Support each other. Help each other to draw boundaries and never listen to criticism of your partner by your parents or in-laws. Don’t take side and start attacking your spouse.
The session also covered how to have a realistic view of our parents and a very important section on healing childhood pain. The exercise helped participants to understand in more details how their upbringing had influenced them and to discover what can adversely affect their marriage.