If you were to ask someone what their most important relationship is, the answer would most likely revolve around a family member. My relationship with my wife is most important to me. My children are the most important people in my life. Or I love and cherish my parents.
But if you were to ask them how they’re creating strong family relationships, you’ll probably get a blank stare. They know their family relationships are important yet they’re struggling to build strong family ties because of everything else going on in their lives.
We’ve all seen the results of weak family relationships. Marriages crumble into divorce. Children hating their father or mother. Parents and children no longer on speaking terms. These situations happen even to those who claim their family is important to them.
So why do these leaders who claim family relationships matter have such a devastated family? It’s because it’s easy to say your family is important but difficult to live it out.
We’re going to look at a few ways you can create strong family relationships and build the bonds that will last.
Creating Strong Family Relationships
The people in your family will more than likely be the most important relationships you have. You’ve committed to spending the rest of your life with your spouse. Til death do us part, right?
Then there’s your children. You chose to create little, miniature versions of yourself. And you have them for 18 years or so before they leave the nest.
These are the people you do life with. You wake up next to your spouse. Your children are probably waking you up.
But your relationship with your wife sucks or you’re struggling to create meaningful moments with your children. What do you do?
Schedule connection times:
In an interview I did with Mark Timm, he mentioned the one thing that changed his family relationship: He began to treat his family like a business. Mark went on to explain this meant scheduling meetings to connect and figure out what’s going on in one another’s lives.
Make meeting with your family important. Schedule date nights with your wife. Plan daddy-daughter dates with your daughter.
And when it’s time for these scheduled appointments, make it all about them. Put the phone away. Shut down the iPad. Make the focus on the person you’re with.
Do things they like:
Everyone likes to do different things. I like to go for runs and to the comic book store or to the movies. My wife likes to go for long walks around our neighborhood or shopping at Nordstrom Rack.
We don’t always do the things I like to do. And we don’t always do the things she likes to do. We find ways to meet in the middle or switch up the things we do with one another.
You need to do the same with your family relationships. When connecting with them, do things the other person likes.
Bring your son to the baseball game you don’t want to watch. Go ice skating with your little princess. Watch the latest chick flick with your wife.
Spending time doing things your spouse or children like to do will reinforce the fact you see them as important. Make them feel it.
Just show up:
Scheduling in time to connect and going out and doing things with your family are important things. So is just being there for them.
These are the times you show up randomly to events that matter to your family. Maybe you randomly show up at school so you can have lunch with little Johnny. You could surprise your wife at work with a bouquet of flowers.
Little things. Thoughtful things… These actions will go a long way in creating lasting family relationships.
You have to be intentional in building the relationships in your family. You can’t stop doing thoughtful things because you said “I do” or the kids are growing up.
Make sure you’re doing things to build your relationships up.