In family life, love is the oil that eases friction, the cement that binds closer together, and the music that brings harmony.
The family is the building block and fundamental unit of society. It is supposed to be a sanctuary where there is security, peace, love, joy and happiness for all members. But we all know that the ideal family is hard to come by.
Many things happen that rob family members of security, peace, love and happiness. These include unhealthy arguments, quarrels, misunderstanding, insults, casting insinuations, fighting, cursing and a host of others.
The causes of family conflicts cannot be far-fetched. Here are the most common ones most families face.
Unfaithfulness is a leading cause of conflict in the home. This occurs when husband or wife is found cheating on the other. Extra-marital relations are a breach of trust, a violation of marital vows, and a betrayal of the confidence a spouse has in a partner. When such a conflict is not properly handled, it can lead to divorce with its far reaching consequences.
Financial challenges are a potential source of conflict in the family. For instance, quarrels may erupt when there is not enough money to settle various bills: utility bills, education, rent, medical, insurance etc. The situation becomes even more serious when the main breadwinner happens to lose his or her job. The couple may have different views with regards to how money should be spent and on what.
A dominating spouse
A dominating spouse or parent may become a nuisance to other members of the family. This kind of person exercises excessive control over others and would not tolerate their views. He or she is seen as a tyrant in the home. The presence of such a person makes others feel uncomfortable. Those who feel insecure may resort to a rebellious attitude in an attempt to regain their freedom and assert their rights.
Sibling rivalry may be a source of disharmony in the home. Children may quarrel among themselves over the sharing of property or even gifts.
Some people have bad character traits that make it difficult for them to live harmoniously with others. They behave uncontrollably when angry. They always feel they are right and would want to have their way in everything. They are unwilling to forgive others who cross their path. Such people have the spirit of contention.
The scriptures have put it this way: “For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.
Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine that such things should be done away.” (3 Nephi 11:29-30).
We are not perfect. We have our personal weaknesses which can create problems for us. For instance, lust, greed, impure desires, acting selfishly are all sources of disharmony in family life. These can cause unhappiness for others.
Another source of disharmony in some families is when a parent dies and the funeral is to be performed. Some family members may have issues with one another over how the burial and final funeral rites should be done. Children may fight over the sharing of proceeds from the funeral and the property of the decease.
Dealing with family problems
There are profound actions we can take to prevent or solve family disputes. Love should be the banner over our families. We should let love to guide us in our words and deeds. The couple should love themselves and meet the needs of their children. Children should also play their role well. They should submit to discipline. They must respect and honour their parents. When parents and children play their roles well, it will promote harmonious living.
Self-discipline is necessary for living in harmony with others. As much as possible we should avoid unkind words. When we act with anger, the situation can degenerate into open confrontation and fighting with dire consequences. Proverbs 15:1 says it better, “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” We should correct each other with love and not resort to unnecessary arguments which can lead to the exchange of blows.
As indicated earlier, human beings are imperfect and live in an imperfect world. We all make mistakes. We should be willing to accept our mistakes and apologize where necessary. It is part of discipline to do this.
Kindness is a language everybody understands. We are counseled to be kind, loving and forgiving. These help to promote happiness in the family. Parents and children should treat one another with respect, love and kindness. This can help solve family problems.
Family members must study the scriptures and pray together. When they live the principles of the gospel, they will be happy living together. Praying together can unite family members. It will also help them settle their differences amicably.
However close-knit a family may be, differences will occur. Love of one another should help us settle our differences harmoniously. If we follow the single most important principle the scriptures teach, we will be able to live in harmony with others. Matthew 7:12 says it all: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”
Yours in inspiration,
Abundant Robert K. AWOLUGUTU
Correction Officer, Priest & Author.
Email: [email protected]
Cell: 0208 455 296
Achieving A Harmonious Family Life
By Abundant Robert AWOLUGUTU