When we marry, both partners are in many ways incompatible. They may be a strong love for each other, together with common interests. But because of the differences, there is a lot of working out to do in the relationship. This will be just the same when children come along. However, the family is a God-arranged 'institution' to provide the ideal environment to shape us and bring us to maturity.
I list below a few suggestions of the ideal requirements for a functional family. I stress that this is not a complete list and it is ideal:
- Both parents are present and available and demonstrate their love for each other openly and healthily.
- The children receive affection vocally, by touch and with eye contact.
- That communication is free and open.
- There is a listening environment, with the freedom to express emotional pain and fears, without condemnation or shame.
- The children are disciplined - I don't necessarily mean physical correction - in love with listening and full explanation.
- There are shared family activities.
- Children are increasingly encouraged to be themselves and not copies of their parents.
- There is affirmation and validation of the children's femininity or masculinity, by word and example.
"God sets the lonely in families" Psalm 68:6 New International Version