TIPS FOR REBUILDING FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:7 (ESV)
“Forgiving and being forgiven are two names for the same thing. The important thing is that a discord has been resolved.” ~ C.S. Lewis
Rebuilding relationships with family is not just a decision—it’s a lifestyle change .Keeping a relationship clear and open is a valuable process. When we lie, cheat, steal and hold “malice” in our hearts towards family, we pay the ultimate price, and we lose what is most precious to us. Creating trust and an atmosphere of support is a big deal, so treat it that way. There are many facets and turns in this very delicate and daunting process of rebuilding.
Tips for Rebuilding
1. Express to our family member that you desire to be closer. Seek agreement from them that they want the same thing.
2. Apologize for past hurts and mistakes. But make sure we are sincere about your apology.
3. Give it time. Don’t rush. It takes time to build relationships and time to rebuild them. We cannot return to “being close” overnight, so expect to build back closeness slowly over time. It may take a few years.
4. Rediscover who this person is. Be curious about them as though they were a stranger. Seek new ways of perceiving them. We forget to see our family members as others see them. Look closely.
5. Notice when our walls go up. Take note of what triggers our walls to go up and consciously work to keep the walls lowered. We have built up very old strategies to deal with your family. They may not serve us now. We must now be willing to be a little vulnerable. That’s what closeness is about, close enough that there is always a potential of having our feelings be hurt.
6. Be aware of our hot buttons. This person knows how to push them. Don’t fall into old ways of reacting. And don’t push their hot buttons either. We can control how you behave with them and how you react to them.
7. Share who we are. Just because this person has known us for a long time, doesn’t mean they know who we are now. Share our authentic self with them!! We are not the same people as we were when we were 12, 24, 35 – we are constantly evolving an changing.
If you can look at the “rebuilding of family” as a learning process that will hopefully bring with it greater closeness and love, then with patience and an open heart, move forward.
FATHER GOD – THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR FORGIVENESS IN OUR LIVES. STRIP AWAY OUR DEFENSES, OUR HUMAN DESIRE TO ‘CONTROL’ AND ‘BE STRONG’. HELP US TO HAVE OPEN HEARTS AND A WILLINGNESS TO BE VULNERABLE TO HURT TO GAIN CLOSENESS WITH OUR FAMILY. THANK YOU FOR CREATING FAMILY FOR US. HELP US RESPECT WHAT YOU HAVE GIVEN US. AMEN