Keep Family Strong! The best advises for Parents from Pros | How Do You Keep A Family Strong? Let’s read any magazine. And review about the changing partners of the wellknown people and common people. It’s a wierd fact that the parents who stay happy together for along lifetime have not been seen at the headlines.
They are not ‘news.’ So whilst we can read interviews from the many who will kiss and tell about the break-up of their relationships. We know very little about what makes a marriage last. And so what keeps a family strong.
Keep Family Strong!
The underlying message passed onto the readers of the newspaper articles is that ‘everybody’ does it, and if one partner doesn’t suit you, then trade him or her in for another. Yet fortunately there are many couples who have had long and successful married lives. Some of these were prepared to share with me the reasons why they thought their marriage had been a success.
When we were researching for my book Making and Breaking Families I posted messages in magazines and newspapers and on the Internet asking ‘What makes a family?’ and I was inundated with replies – it seemed everyone had an opinion.
‘Respect for each other’ were words I heard again and again from those whose marriages had been a success; also, emphasis was placed on the need for consideration for each other.
‘Structure’, ‘lines of demarcation’, ‘what is proper or improper’. And ‘consistency in discipline’ were terms offered by parents who felt their families to be strong. And who wanted to pass on to others their own standards. I heard repeatedly the view that if there is a warm, loving home. It provides a sound atmosphere that creates positive memories which last a lifetime.
If this is in place, there is less likelihood of someone falling through the net. Or risking it all by having an affair. Couples who had stayed together for years were pleased to have their opinions listened to. As I heard from one man: he and his wife of ten years often ‘the odd ones out’ when meeting up with friends who sometimes had a second or even third partner.
Gary: ‘It’s ridiculous, but true, I often have to remind myself that we are the ones who have got it right. When friends are describing their relationships. They may sound exciting. But I often think of the tears there must be in private.’
Keep Family Strong. Learn to say sorry;
Advice came pouring in: ‘Be open and affectionate in front of the children.’ ‘Learn to say sorry, and mean it.’ ‘Be independent at times, and dependent at others’. ‘Take time to decide on marriage and then make it work’. ‘It doesn’t just happen, make it happen.’
Jade: ‘We have been married for twenty-two years. We talk a lot. We chat and chat and chat. And we don’t argue. Penny is my great friend as well as my lover and my wife. My first marriage failed because all these good things were completely absent. The constant arguing killed off the whole enterprise. Hence my advice “Don’t argue.” These are words of experience, more than words of wisdom.’
Gilly, fifty years married: ‘Our secret? Just get on with it. And don’t bear grudges. If you marry for love, it will see you through.’
Adam, married in 1965: ‘Call a spade a spade. A “fling”’ or a “one night stand” is adultery and a betrayal and should be seen as such.’
Protect or reconstitute a family!
I heard from men and women desperate to know how to protect or reconstitute a family.
Jason: ‘ Please help me. My wife has left two husbands and is now leaving me and our children.’ Jason was frantic to know how to teach his son the value of human relationships, love and commitment.
Many marriages go through difficulties and periods of serious differences. The skill is for a couple to discuss, maybe argue and then to negotiate. This is a way towards a mutually agreeable solution. A wise partner can judge the time to withdraw from a previously held position. This should be a strength, not a weakness.
Belinda: ‘My parents were divorced, and I was determined to work at keeping my own marriage strong.’
What does working at a marriage mean? It means noticing the other person’s needs. Being aware of small changes and not taking anything for granted. After the honeymoon phase many couples reported that they just got on with living. Yet love, there initially, can wither and die if not nurtured. Somehow a kind of lassitude creeps in and changed attitudes are not noticed. Subtle warnings are not heeded.
Successful relationships require time. Many couples told me ‘Turn off the television one night a week. And talk instead.’ or ‘Share the chores’. Quality time is not enough – quantity counts too.
Keep Family Strong. Sharing time and leisure,
Selena: ‘I’ll bring work home to do after the kids go to bed if I have to. But we are all together at the dinner table.’
All the comments I received did point to the members of families sharing time and leisure. Or interest or common ground or hobbies, and with each other.
Perhaps the last word should be from Molly who has just celebrated her diamond wedding.
Mary: ‘I am an old lady now, but I do know this. Families are all about love and care and must provide the environment to protect the young and the old. And the sick. A family is also a place to share a lot of fun with, too.’