As a child, I enjoyed school and learning. I liked most of my teachers and classes that challenged me. It was not until Nancy and I were married that I realized I had received two distinct educations during my childhood: One was traditional; the other was at home. My family of origin served as my personal textbook of what it meant to be a man, a husband, and a father. My expectations of how a woman should be as a wife and mother also stemmed from my family of origin. My parents were my role models.
Believe it or not, your family of origin also served as an educational textbook for you. I cannot count the times when I am counseling someone and the connection between the issue they are currently dealing with and their family of origin becomes apparent. Most of us have had this happen. Perhaps there was something about one of your parents that really bothered you and you swore you would never act in the same way. Or maybe you vowed you would never treat your children the same way you were treated but then somehow found yourself doing the exact same thing you vowed not to do. As soon as the words came out of your mouth, the realization hit you.
The power of our experiences in our families of origin are amazing. Now, there are plenty of positive things most of us experience in our families of origin that we should purposefully identify and choose to carry forward. The question is, what do we do with the negative things? We have to be just as purposeful in identifying them and leaving them behind. Here are three points: First, never buy into the myth that your family of origin will not affect your marriage. Second, with God’s help, you can leave behind everything from your family of origin that is having a negative effect on your life or your marriage. Third, embrace the good things from your family and be thankful for each of them.