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Living with Family: A Wonderful Opportunity

I remember when my wife and I have lived with our son and daughter-in-law, it’s been a great experience for us and a wonderful time connecting with our kids in a deeper, more meaningful way.

After only eight weeks, we’ve gone through three phases:

1. The Honeymoon Phase

For the first few weeks, everything went smooth, dare I say perfect. Our sharing of one house, of melding two couples used to living by themselves into one family unit, flowed forth like a dream.

We shared household duties and melded our schedules with ease. Eating together, going for walks, and having deep discussions all unfolded naturally. It was bliss.

2. The Adjustment Phase

Eventually, a few cracks appeared. We began to expose our quirks and saw each other’s foibles. Whereas we once only saw one another’s strengths, now weaknesses poked through.

We began adjusting what we did, how we did it, and when we did it for the sake of unity.

Though we all made small sacrifices for one another since the first day, now we began to realize it. Just as living as a couple requires flexibility, even more so does living as an extended family.

3. The Settling Down Phase

While we continued to make adjustments, we were settling into a comfortable, peaceful co-existence. It’s not perfect, as in the honeymoon phase, but it is really great.

A stable arrangement has emerged; this is sustainable, and it is good.

A Wonderful Opportunity

My wife and I view this as a great adventure, a time to connect more deeply with our kids and learn from each other. Though we expect that to be a five-month living arrangement, a friend of mine did the same thing for five years.

For her, when the parents moved on, there was a great sense of loss. I expect the same emotion. Though would it be good when my wife and I move on and resume living as one couple, I wonder if what we give up will be more profound.

In today’s modern society we celebrate individualism; we value our freedom. What we lose in the process is the opportunity to truly live as an extended family, to influence each other and learn from one another, to fully connect.

Our affluence actually serves to isolate us. Living as an extended family, whether by choice or circumstance, offers the opportunity to live more fully in community.

If we can embrace this opportunity, we will emerge better and stronger as a result.

Do you like this post? Want to read more? Check out Peter’s book, Bridging the Sacred-Secular Divide: Discovering the Spirituality of Every Day Life, available wherever books are sold.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

2 replies on “Living with Family: A Wonderful Opportunity”

We’ve had our 32 year old daughter living with us since her accident, which totaled her car and shattered her wrist. I find we went through the same phases. Overall I feel blessed by this time with her and though I’m looking forward to our privacy again, I will miss her, and her little dog too!

Pets add another element. A Husky and two cats are part of the mix as well; I’ll miss them, too!

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