Tuesday, February 17, 2009

At the Well - A Family Kind of Love

When you are done here,
please click on the picture above and
see what other Titus 2 pursuers have to say!

It was such a blessing to read Amy's post regarding this study. I especially rejoiced to find that what I have already been blessed to experience has been hidden in the Titus 2 mandate all along: I'm supposed to be friends with my husband and children. Rich. That is so, so rich.

Amy asks some very thought-provoking questions regarding our family love:

1. What is your definition of friendship?

To me, friendship is much deeper than an acquaintance. Though there are many people with whom I am friendly, I have very few whom I consider to be my true friends. Here are some things I think of when I think of my friends:
  • We are available to talk, but can be quiet together.
  • We can go without speaking for several months and just pick up again where we left off without missing a beat.
  • We are honest enough to see one another's shortcomings, but patient enough to give the other time to grow.
  • I appreciate it when they point out my faults and feel comfortable in returning the favor, without either of us being offended.
  • We may not know the other's favorite color, but we know how to make each other laugh.
  • We are there for each other in the good times, the bad times, the happy and sad times, and even during those rare moments when there's nothing going on at all.
2. Did you follow the belief that we should not be friends with our children?

I couldn't help being friends with my children. I can't say we were always friends, but we grew to be friends over the years. I had that type of relationship with both my mother and maternal grandmother, so it just came naturally to me.

3. Has that changed?

The friendships with my children have grown deeper by the year. We still prefer one other's company over that of anyone else on earth. The friends of our children become our friends, and we sincerely hope and pray that will be true of their future spouses as well.

4. In what ways can we befriend our husbands and children?

A woman who spends too much time away from her family -- developing all of her friendships away from home -- may be hindered in befriending her own husband and children. Friendships are built on mutual experiences. There are actually families who take their vacations separately. I can't even fathom that! I would be so depressed if my husband and children were miles away from me having fun without me and vice verse. Time together as a family without extended family or outside friends is very important to building family friendships.

Family nights are excellent friendship builders as well, especially playing board games together. Yet, even watching favorite movies or reading books aloud can be fun.

Allow the children to share their ideas and opinions. When they are teenagers, discussions about current events are very important in building camaraderie as well as a healthy worldview.

One of the worst family friendship hindrances has got to be electronics: the Internet, computers, electronic games, CDs going in both ears via iPods, vegging out in front of the tube, and on and on and on. We have to disconnect from the digital media long enough to look one another in the face and actually COMMUNICATE with each other. (I am coming under some major conviction here.)

5. What can we do to teach those skills to someone else?

Well, I think we are doing that right here on our respective blogs.

Also, it would be good to make family time a priority. When you have to turn down a ladies' event or girls' night out, explain in love that your "family friends" come first.

Yet, the best way to teach these things is by our example. Encourage friends whose husbands and children are estranged from them to keep trying to rebuild what has been lost. When they see the precious friendships you have with your family, they will want to know how you would handle certain situations they are facing with their spouse and children. Be ready to give them an answer.

There will be other parts to this study, so please come back next Monday (or Tuesday for me?) and get in on this vitally important aspect of family relationships.