Families are God ordained functional unit of the society. In the Church also families form dynamic unit. Strong families indicate a strong nation and a dynamic church. Satan, in the last days is targeting the family life: breaking families, redefining meaning for families, and promoting sex outside marriage. Strong families emerge when couples love one another, committed to one another and submit to one another.
1.Embrace each other
Marriage is a mystical union of two persons. Bible defines that spouses become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24) It means that they are one in Physical, mental, spiritual or emotional life. They live for one another, nurture one another and care for one another that create physical intimacy. Even in the thinking process, they learn to think alike or have oneness in their decisions. Spiritually, they are strength for one another. Paul writes that an unbelieving husband becomes holy, if the wife is a believer. “For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.” (I Corinthians 7:14)
2.Encourage each other
Family is not competition arena or sports stadium to compete with one another. It is a place where people are encouraged and affirmed. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. (I Cor 13: 4)Unfortunately, there is an unhealthy competition between spouses in the areas of education, career, income, social status etc. Then it results in personality clashes that could end up in domestic violence, physical or verbal abuse. Encouraging the spouse and children to do their best, will bring lasting value for each member of the family.
3.Empower each other
Either one spouse controls another or both empower one another. Controlling the spouse means exercising power or authority over other person. As the saying goes; Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. When a person gains upper hand over his/her spouse; then the other person is reduced to a status where there is no dignity and decorum; instead of fair play there is power play. Empowering the other spouse means providing freedom to operate. That freedom helps a person to blossom. That means the natural talents, spiritual gifts, skills are used, developed and displayed for the benefit of family and outside.
4. Excuse each other
Forgiving and Forgetting should be a natural habit between spouses. They are not enemies living together under one roof but of one flesh. As all human beings are fallen beings, no person is perfect. There would be shortcomings, annoying traits, mistakes, weaknesses, different personality style, communication style etc. Love is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. (I Cor 13:5) Trying to change the other person is like being rude to them. Instead of trying to change the other person, it is wise to learn to adapt to the other person. Both have to make adjustments. These adjustments could be possible, only when spouses are willing to forgive and forget the blunders that each person commits.
5.Energize each other
Spouses are the best ‘cheer leaders’. Unfortunately spouses become bitter critics and do the opposite to the spouse. Affirmation, honest evaluation and suggestions help the spouse to move forward. Moral and spiritual support of the spouse is vital for growth and excellent performance in various areas of life.
Spouses should find time to engage together in certain activities. It could be inside home, like cooking or gardening; or outside the home, like shopping, picnic. Doing things together develops more understanding, acceptance, communication skills between spouses. Spiritual activities like fasting and praying together, reading bible together, memorizing scriptures, and meditating together also is beneficial.
There are always areas that could be explored in the world. As couples and families, it is good to explore new ideas, new places, new technology and new projects. Reading or watching a new concept book or documentary will help the spouses to grow together. Going to new places for holidays (apart from visiting relatives) opens new horizon or broader understanding of the world. Learning to use a new mobile phone with modern features or trying deciphering modern blogs are example of exploring together. May be being part of short term mission trip to a new country is another way to explore.
8. Endure together
Life is not at all a bed of roses. There would be conflicts from within and attacks from outside. For Christians there is another dimension of satanic attacks. Sometimes temporary loss of job or sickness or accidents or natural calamities could be a setback in the family. During those low moments, it is necessary to stick together and endure together. More bonding between spouses happens during adverse circumstances. Satan could use his horrific weapons to divide the family. One of his weapons is doubt or suspicion. Many weak Christians become victim of this. But, it is good to remember, love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (I Cor 13:6)
As spouses, they should learn to rejoice and enjoy life. Yes, life is a pilgrimage or strenuous journey. But, that does not mean there is no joy or peace in that journey. There are numerous things the spouses could celebrate and enjoy. Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun— all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun. (Eccl 9:9)
Festivals, birthdays, marriage anniversaries should be special occasions, when they could take time off their busy schedule to enjoy. Vacations and picnics are opportunities to enjoy together. These times could be memorable times that could be cherished lifelong.
10. Excel together
Five men man can chase a thousand while ten together could chase ten thousand. (Deut 26:8) It talks about synergy and unity. If two agree and pray, God hears such prayers. (Matthew 18:19) As couples, they could excel in various areas of life. Tennis doubles team is a good example. One person has to cover the failing or weakness of the other person. Both work in tandem so that they could compensate the other person’s weaknesses or shortcomings or failures. Husband-wife team is such team that could excel and achieve great feats.
In the modern world, family life is the anchor in the midst of stress, moral decay and confusion. The very haven is being attacked by storms of skeptics, modernists, postmodernists, pseudo prophetic media, and new age philosophers. The need of the times is Biblically modeled families that could be light and salt in the crooked generation.