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Summary: There’s a scenario that plays itself out dozens of times in families all over the world and in our community. The scenario involves a vulnerable woman who depends on her husband to meet her emotional needs and a workaholic man who has little time for fami

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Opening: There’s a scenario that plays itself out dozens of times in families all over the world and in our community. The scenario involves a vulnerable woman who depends on her husband to meet her emotional needs and a workaholic man who has little time for family responsibilities. Year after year she reaches for him and finds he’s not there. She nags, complains, cries, and attacks him for his failures – to no avail. He is carrying the load of three men in his business or profession and can’t figure out how to keep that enterprise going while providing what his wife needs. As time goes by, she becomes increasingly angry, which drives him even further into his workaday world. He is respected and successful there. And thereafter he is even less accessible to her. Then one day, to her husband’s shock, this woman reaches a breaking point and either leaves him for someone else or files for a divorce. It is a decision she may live to regret and one that often devastates her children – although by then the marriage is long gone (Dobson, Solid Answers, 482).

Interaction: Think back to your own family experiences and share with us one or two of your favorite, positive memories that you still carry with you to this day. As you look in the rearview mirror, what were some of your family deficits? What would you like to see your family become in the next few years?

Illustration: A horse-riding ranch in Texas championed the idea that they had a horse to fit everyone’s taste. For big people, they had big horses; for skinny people, they had skinny horses; for fast people, they had fast horses; for slow people, they had slow horses. For people who had never ridden a horse before, they had horses that had never been ridden before!

Transition: Families come in all shapes and sizes, personalities and tendencies. And they are shaped that way to meet needs.

Quotation: We believe that God has ordained three basic institutions: the church, the family, and the government for the benefit of all humankind. The family exists to propagate the race and to provide a safe and secure haven in which to nurture, teach, and love the younger generation. The church exists to minister to individuals and families by sharing the love of God and the message of repentance and salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ. The government exists to maintain cultural equilibrium and to provide a framework for social order (Focus on the Family, Colorado Springs, CO).

Explanation: Family is an institution ordained by God to provide a safe, nurturing enclosure where husbands/wives can love one another freely, where children can be conceived, born, adopted, raised, loved, encouraged, instructed, and ultimately released to form their own families. It’s the place that is designed to meet our basic human needs. It’s a place to learn values and theology. It’s a safe, secure place to learn from our failures. It’s a place to live out our sorrows. It’s a place to discover the meaning of life. It’s a place to talk, think, and try out ideas. In families, we should be loved, disciplined, and given a good example to follow. Fathers lead and mothers nurture. It’s a place where we develop character in an atmosphere of unconditional, accountable love.


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