Family Discipleship - Bond - Heart

by Dave Rueter on December 08, 2021


Seeks to support the bonds within the family.


Every family is different. Our patterns of communication are learned and handed down from generation to generation. What each family understands to be closely bonded looks different depending on the families of origin that came together to form the new family. Many times a husband and wife will discover these differences in the first few years of their marriage and wonder about how their spouse’s family can find their communication patterns to be anything other than strange.

Often this only amounts to a difference in the frequency of phone calls, texts, or visits. Sometimes it involves decisions like purchasing a home a couple of doors down from your childhood home. Sometimes this involves a complete breakdown of communication between siblings that just does not seem to be able to be resolved. Our families of origin play a major role in how we understand the normal communication patterns to form the support structure for our bonds as a family.

One of the reasons that these differences make newlyweds uncomfortable is that their hearts have been tuned to the bonds established in the communication routines of their formative years.  For my wife, it is perfectly normal to be on the phone with her mother daily if not a couple of times on certain days, depending on what is happening in life. For my family, it is far more normal to not call for weeks on end. While it might be better at times for my own family to be in communication more often, unless there is something particular going on, we don’t tend to see the lack of phone calls as a major break in the relationship. Our hearts are tuned differently.

In turn, as we are raising our boys we are establishing new communication patterns that will define who we are, unique from both of our families of origin. (Spoiler: I’d expect our boys to have their hearts turned more toward my wife’s family’s communication and bonding style than my own.) The establishment of regular patterns of communication tunes the heart, setting a comfort level or expected frequency and kind of communication to feel well bonded with one another.

A part of working intentionally to establish a pattern of communication to foster quality bonding involves understanding the heart languages of the members of our family. Our boys have been different from each other from the beginning. Our older son is and has seemingly always been verbal. Our younger son is more physically oriented. This means that working on establishing bonding as a family, we need to take into account the different ways in which their tanks are filled up. This means conversation and the space for our older son to talk through things and plenty of hugs for our younger son.

Now I am going to be entirely honest, while I very much love my younger son, I am not always the best at receiving his need for large quantities of physical contact to feel well-loved and bonded. What this means is that I have to, though I do not always manage this well, watch my own reactions and needs to keep them in mind. There are times when I am overloaded with the physical contact that he needs. For my wife, the verbal nature of our older son can be a challenge, when she reaches her limit as an introvert. All this means is that as parents, we need to continually work on our own hearts to ensure that we understand the heart languages of our boys and provide bonding opportunities for them in line with who they are, not just in line with who we are. This is part of the magical mix that families put together as they create emotional bonds.

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