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in a Community, Including In-laws.
that troubles his own house, shall inherit the wind…”
There is no wiser literature than the book of Proverbs found
in the Bible. Pithy sayings collected and stored that are full
of poetry, wisdom, and beauty. Long before family therapy was
conceived, the author of the Proverbs gave sound advice about
family relationships. And the clear message is, protect your
family emotionally, financially and spiritually.
The world can be a cold and unfriendly landscape. There are
times when only your family will support you. And pity the person
who has no family to support them when the going gets rough.
Family is the bank of last resort. Family is the safe harbor
in the storm. Or as my brother loves to remind me, “blood
is thicker than water.”
It may seem inconsequential that family gets together for traditional
holidays. It may appear ordinary when family members spend idle
days together around socializing with food. But what is occurring
is far more important. Emotionally, the members of the family
are bounding, uniting, and supporting each other. Without family
support, humans feel lonely, isolated and lost.
Of course, family is not always created by blood. There are
many people who have created their own family from friends,
associates, and service groups. Family is a feeling of companionship
and identification with others. There are many non-traditional
family groups that are incredibly strong, supportive and loving.
In fact, when traditional family breaks down, creating your
own family from friends and associates works well for most people.
Some people have found that because of family dysfunctionality,
where original family members are toxic and destructive, replacement
family can work well. Family is accepting, non judgmental, and
loving. If your original family is cruel and judgmental, creating
an alternative is advisable. The point is humans need family
whether that family is by “blood” or by choice.
For in family, humans find support and emotional nurturing.
Couples need to be careful not to allow in-laws to separate
them with gossip and judgments. The reason mothers in laws are
a traditional joke is because too many express opinions that
attempt to divide the couple. If a man’s mother attempts
to do this, the man will have to stand up to his mother and
set boundaries that protect his marriage. The same is true for
Perhaps harder is the issue of stepchildren. In family therapy,
the issue of stepchildren is one of the most contentious problems
that can arise. The stepparent needs to be sensitive to the
issues and if needed seek outside guidance on how to handle
this matter as it is often volatile and difficult to navigate.
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