Despite the challenges associated with the early period of marriage, it is very likely you had a sense of great hope. You and your spouse had periods of optimism about the wonderful possibilities that marriage and family would bring. But over time, and for a variety of reasons, immediate difficulties and distractions presented by life may have gotten in the way. Although we may have had the goal of providing a safe place for our children to grow into the best possible family, over time, things got in the way and prevented this.
Slowly, and almost undetectable, our family acquires a culture – a way of interacting with each other, based upon unwritten rules and patterns of behavior, some of which we inherited from our families of origin, others that we adopted because of some efforts on our part to choose how we want to behave and how we want our children to behave. These “rules” that seem to predominate and govern our families may be unwritten, but they are not undiscoverable. One of the things that prevent us from seeing them, and how they create unhealthy patterns of behavior in our families, is that the rules we fail to recognize have created a sense of safety for us. But at the same time, they also create some maladaptive behaviors that often prevent us from demonstrating real, unconditional love to each other.
Changing the culture of your family may seem like a scary process, but there is no other way of healing the family.