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Woman to Woman: " I Married You, Not Your Family"

Have you ever said or thought this? Probably yes; if you are being honest.  Maybe the truth is that either we never thought of this, or we imagined that anything we did not particularly like about his family would not really be an issue. 

 

I think about when I met Johnny and was getting to know him. I simply was doing just that, getting to know him. I never considered how he was shaped and impacted by his family. I was not aware that even though we did not live with his parents (or ever plan to), his parents would show up in our home. Johnny would have attitudes and behaviors that were modeled in his family of origin. He would bring thoughts and beliefs about everything from how you celebrate a birthday, to who pays the bills, to how you handle conflict from his family. So, did I.

 

Your spouse is a part of the family he came from. We are all impacted by our families. Now, this is not to imply that it is all bad. Think about what you loved about your spouse when you first started dating. What drew you to him? What characteristics, interests, attitudes, and behaviors did you find attractive? Well, guess what? He probably got some of those from someone in his family. Maybe not everything, but some things are coming straight down the pipeline. 


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" the truth is you not only married your husband but also his family"

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Part of what we need to do is acknowledge that we are impacted by our families, and also that we are connected to our families. Now this will look different for every couple but the truth is you not only married your husband but also his family (and yours) are part of your extended family and they will have an impact.  The challenge is to figure out how to have a healthy connection without being overly enmeshed, or too estranged.  

 

Again, how this works and looks will be as different as each individual couple but what God has clearly said is “That is why a man must leave his mother and father and be united to his wife, and they become one flesh. '' So, part of God’s intent is that you make a new family unit. Your marriage is at the center and you must have boundaries that allow healthy connection without overstepping or creating conflict. 

 

Families can bring wisdom, support, assistance and the joy of sharing life together, but they can also bring stress, difficulty, and conflict. 

Ask yourself if your marriage is the priority and do you have healthy boundaries with your families? 

~Carla


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