Growing up, I had a limited understanding of the power of family. We were very isolated from our extended family on both my dad’s and mom’s sides. As a result, I didn’t know grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, etc. I heard the words from friends, but had no experience of my own to draw on. As far as I knew, building a legacy simply meant getting your kids raised and making a living.
Finding Out How Family Factors Into Marriage
It was fun falling in love with Pam. She made me happier than anyone else I had met and she was extremely attractive to me. The only thing I really knew about choosing a marriage partner was that I needed to be with someone who was committed to living a ministry lifestyle. I had a strong sense that God was calling me into full-time ministry as a career. For me, therefore, having a partner who shared the passion on my heart was going to be important.
It never occurred to me to ask any questions about her family or her background or what previous generations of her family had experienced. If she had asked me those same questions, I would’ve shrugged my shoulders and blankly said, “I don’t know.” I thought our love was about us and no one else.
Part Of A Bigger Plan
I have since learned that our love for each other is much bigger than just Pam and me. We are part of something God has been doing in our family long before we were born. Likewise, you are part of a legacy that kicked into gear years before you met each other. Ephesians 3:14-15 puts it this way: “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.” Your family has a name, but that name is more than a simple identifier. God has attached a purpose to your family name that helps move his plan forward.
This came into focus for me when my dad started researching our family background. Much to my surprise, there is a string of inventors in my family background and a few pastors. It always amused me that all three of my sons, my brother, my dad and myself are drawn to “tinkering.” We get our hands dirty with building projects and look for innovative ways to make repairs. It makes more sense now that I know our family background is littered with inventors.
I have also been amazed at how deeply my brother and I love our Savior because it was not a priority in our home. My parents are strong, moral people, but there has never been any kind of spiritual fervor in their lives. I now realize there were most likely people in my family background praying that God would raise up a spiritual heritage to which I have become the beneficiary.
Love That Spreads Beyond Your Marriage
The point of all this is that your love is bigger than you. God has been at work in your family for generations. Your talents, passions, frustrations and goals have sprouted from seeds that were planted by those who went before you. In addition, the influence of the decisions you make today with your spouse will be felt for generations to come. Couples who discover the power of their family name see their love influence others on a regular basis and have a bigger reason than momentary happiness to be committed to the relationship. So, how can you as a couple discover the legacy contained in your family name?
- Ask God to show you what He has been doing in your family system.
- Ask members of your family to tell their stories and share what they remember about previous generations. As they share, look for common themes that repeat.
- Identify people who have been influenced by your love and look for common themes in the way they have been influenced.
Your marriage matters to God, and your love for each other is more powerful than you probably realize.
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