An effective and sustainable way of expressing family love is Saying, “I love you” quite often and reinforcing it sincerely and consistently through actions. It’s hard to find someone who disagrees with the notion of both being essential. However, the proportions of words and actions depends on personality of giver and recipient and bond between them. For example your spouse might find a family gathering heart melting more than a candlelight dinner. While you might feel the other way around. We’ll dive deep to understand family love but first let’s see a family in its simplest form.
1. What is Family?
One of the natural rights of all human beings is to initiate one’s family unit by marriage. It’s a religious duty to legally satisfy one’s sexual instinct and procreate offspring through which we all glorify God and preserve humanity. Family basically is a social organization comprising people related by blood, marriage or adoption. They share a common residence and communicate and interact with one another in performing their respective social roles. The roles of being husband and wife, father and mother, son and daughter, brother and sister.
Life philosophy, Culture, individual lifestyles and circumstances make people choose different family structures for maintaining love for their families. For, example nuclear-family, extended-family and single-parent family. However, for defining family love, Family is more than its structure. We all love and need to express it with non-resident family members too.
2. What Constitutes Family Love?
Love has diverse facet and each one is vital in its own dimension. Love is devotion to God. Respect, compassion, benevolence and sacrifice for mankind that includes our community and family. It is passion, loyalty and intimacy for spouse and affection, adoration and care for kids. It is that family love, which demonstrated in many ways at home ultimately seeps into our society while we interact for social or economic reasons. This tradition of love then comes back to us manifold, thus, making our world a better place to live.
“Love is an unconditional commitment to selflessly serve, truthfully communicate, fearlessly protect, gracefully forgive, compassionately heal, and enduringly remain in relationship with and for the sake of another.” (The seven Laws of Love by Dave Willis)
These are the core values of love; a higher degree of which is present in families that enjoy persistent and sustainable relationship over time. These values must be transferred in next generations with careful endeavor.
3. Ways to Show your Love
The most profound demonstration of family love is to fulfill our duties towards family-members with justice and acknowledge their rights. Violating their rights and claiming love for them is self-contradictory. The concept of accountability exists in every religion. Following are some of the ways based on core values to express love in different family roles.
- Establish such an environment at home which ensures granting rights to all kids without any discrimination.
- Give them equal chances to learn and grow according to their abilities, preferences and age. Equality doesn’t mean similarity, bear it in mind.
- Respond to the individual needs of your children. Don’t assume your three-year-old needs exactly what her elder sister or brother wanted in that age and neither will she need the same in coming years.
- Show love by supporting, trusting and empowering them in their life decisions.
- If you’ve raised them in a disciplined and ethical environment, strict Supervision is not relevant for an adult. It only shows over-control and lack of trust on their upbringing.
- Be impartial among your kids as to affection, mercy and generosity because prejudice always leads to rivalry among siblings.
Although, parenting is the only relationship which is focused on giving more than taking. But here are a few ways to show your gratitude towards parents.
- You represent your upbringing while you socialize. Earn honor and dignity for them with best manners.
- Obey them in best possible way in the matter of their rights.
- Regard them for nurturing you well within their means and putting your needs ahead of their own.
- Financially support them.
- Acknowledge their struggles and admire them for all the good decisions they took for you.
- Involve them in major decisions of your life, take their advice whenever practical.
- Care for their emotional and physical health as they age.
- Spend time with them. Have conversations with them, talk about their life’s best phase. Parents usually love to recall their youth days.
- One of the best thing is to make them proud by being happy and successful in life.
Having thirteen siblings including three half-siblings, here I want to share some of my personal experiences. I was raised in a nuclear-family that later turned into an extended-family. I’ve witnessed ups and downs in family life and family love that made more expressive and considerate. I religiously believe in holding on to the basic morals of regard, justice, sacrifice, truthfulness, freedom with boundaries, kindness and understanding for sustaining any relationship on equal basis. Here are a few way of expressing love to my siblings, cousins, friends and their kids:
- Having one-on-one relation with every member. Listening to their personal and mutual issues and consoling them. And giving solicited advice.
- Respecting their limits of secrecy utmost; and avoiding any unwanted meddling into their lives.
- Taking care of siblings and assuming their parental duties whenever they need. It’s something that built stronger bond with my sibling and their progeny.
- Either inviting them at meals or preparing and sending something they like. Giving them handmade gifts whenever possible.
- Spending quality time with kids. Participating in activates of their interest like playing, painting, watching learning videos with them. Involving them in routine activities and educating them to make their school and social life better.
- Connecting by Praying for them
Maintaining love in extended families is much more complex than it is in nuclear families. And when it comes to in-laws relationship, unfortunately in our culture it’s the most biased relationship from the very beginning. People choose to sweep the matter under the carpet rather than accepting the realities and giving the relations their true place. We all have heard that cliché of considering your in-laws as your counterpart blood-kin. We so much force unrealistically on treating them like blood-relations that we forget to realistically treat them like fellow-humans.
- Give each other basic human rights.
- Avoid unnecessary truths.
- Regard one another’s privacy, individuality and freedom.
- Choose your words carefully in everyday conversation. A careless selection could initiate a fight.
- Avoid topics that can cause disagreements. Talk more about similarities instead of difference to avoid argument of being better or worse.
- Compliment a lot but genuinely. Even the most malicious person around has something good. Admire it and persuade them to be more affirmative without using any negative connotations.
- Try to give more than you take.
4. Preserving Love for your Family during Hard Times
In spite of being caring towards one another, things get bitter at times. Even those seemingly perfect families face disputes among its members, sometimes. They can be angry with one another for any reasons. But they’re never envious, never arrogant, and never egoistic among themselves. A person with high degree of these negative traits get isolated soon. Eventually, a family comprising with such individuals is perished in society. That’s the law of nature. In order to survive, a group needs cooperation among its people striving for collective goals.
In fact, it’s these difficult situations that are the real test of endurance of any family. When relations are at the verge of collapse, feelings of gratitude and forgiveness can save them. Family love is about balancing the emotions and actions so that it doesn’t spoil anyone on the name of love/respect. Set boundaries so that nobody violates one member’s rights for the sake of other. Staying religiously committing to the said core values of love is the perfect love. And it gives you enormous strength to endure relations during the hardest periods of your life.
5. Extending Love Beyond Family for the Sake of Family
You think family love is meant for family members only, right? Wrong! Every member will ultimate socialize and join the wider community of humanity. The more you spread love in the society with your noble deeds, the more your family receives it back. Create a positive environment outside home for your family by extending your love towards other members of society. Love is the best legacy left behind for family and the whole of humanity.
In the end I’ll suggest you to make the best use of your time because it is most scarce resource. It is the only resource that if not used appropriately brings endless regrets in our lives. So, for creating beautiful memories for every member use it optimally. One of the major regrets that a person has on death bed is not spending enough time with loved ones.
What is your perception of family love share with us in the comment section?