"Many hands make light work." We've all heard this phrase. In some
cases I suppose it is convenient. But there is a time and place for
devotion and focus on our nuclear family.
The nuclear family consists of parents and their children
functioning as a unit under one roof. The emotional health of this
family component is crucial to its survival. But sometimes, even as
adults with our own families, we can become wrapped up in the
dynamics of family members outside our home. This becomes unhealthy
when we literally become meshed or tangled with them.
If there is any dysfunction in these outside relationships, we
have trouble separating ourselves and it affects our own household
and can be destructive. The Lord made it clear that a man is to leave
his mother and father and join his wife to become one flesh (Genesis
2:24). This means that a man is to separate himself from the
protective guardianship of his parents and establish a new family
unit with his wife. This entity is to be respected.
As adults, we can become codependent with parents, siblings'
families, or our in-laws. The result of this can mar our own
household. There is a delicate line between "being there" for other
family members and maintaining our loyalty to our nuclear family.
The goal of achieving healthy relationships with family outside
our household is not to isolate other members of our family but to
This means that we stand on our own as a nuclear family and remain
loyal, complete and strong. Then we are able to relate to other
family members in a healthy manner, drawing the appropriate lines if
they are coming between our spouse and ourselves or causing friction
that creates harmful dynamics within our nuclear family.
In this day and age, it might seem that dysfunction is on the
rise. But I believe that dysfunctional families have always existed.
We have simply become more aware of dysfunction, talk about it
openly, and are not willing to live and die with abuse. Nowadays,
when someone recognizes dysfunction from their past, they are more
apt to give themselves permission to seek freedom and health.