But getting married doesn't only mean blending your life to fit with another person's, it also means blending your life to fit with another family. It can sometimes lead to arguments, exhaustion, and tears. It takes time and patience to assimilate to an entirely new and different way of doing things. I lovingly refer to the differences between my family and my husband's family as different "brands of crazy"
It's not difficult to allow rifts to develop in close friendships, between siblings, between father and son. Growing up often brings along with it growing pains. Trying to establish your own household, trying to establish your own way of raising your children, especially if it's different than the one you were raised in, can bring a lot of conflict.
I've spent a lot of time considering what a normal healthy family life really means once you are grown up with children of your own. I look back on my own childhood, and look at Gibbs' most cherished family memories, and realize that a lot of highlights of both of our childhoods included extended family.
Sometimes it seems like it would be easier to just hide out among your spouse and children, and not have to try so hard. There are bound to be days when anyone who is married will think to themselves "my dad (or mom, or sister) would never say that!" And children can keep you busy enough running from school to sports to lessons that you really could pull away from family and live an isolated life, if you wanted to.
But I strongly believe that a child raised in an environment where they are loved by many, cared for by many, shaped by different views, exposed to different ways of thinking, is much better off than one who is not. A child who grows up seeing their parents being an example of loving people who are different from themselves, being peace makers, being able to truly love and serve others... those are the children who will have a lifetime of memories left from their childhood to build on, grow and learn from.
God calls us to be peace makers. He calls us to be in unity with one another. To love one another, even if we feel at odds with them. Love is an action and not a feeling. There are times that I don't always want to mend fences, sometimes it's sometimes hard to assimilate and change, but "Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful...Love bears all things....endures all things." (1 Cor. 13:5)
D with my brother in law
C enjoying some kissing from my sister in law :)