The following article is a republished article written by Evelyn Thomas in October 2012.
I feel this will be a great refresher for many of our readers.
Due to the problems we are having with posting articles please go to the website http://www.andherestorethmysoulproject.org
Darlene J. Harris
How to Be a Happy Family
Evelyn S. Thomas
M.S. Marriage and Family Counseling
President and Cofounder of Your Family Matters, Inc.
How often do you hear news broadcasts or read headlines reporting a tragic story of a person found bruised and beaten or a child having lost his or her life at the hands of a relative or of someone who supposedly loves him or her? What’s your usual reaction to such tragic news? Most likely, you shake your head, think “what a shame”, and some how you simply perish the thought. Let’s face it. Often we choose to dismiss such news rather than recognize it for what it truly is…domestic violence. It’s easier to “look the other way” rather than advocate against domestic violence because of the shame, horror and fear associated with it. However, when we realize the vast and horrible impact domestic violence has on the family, we should be moved to seek ways and means to rid society of it.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) evolved from the “Day of Unity” in October 1981 conceived by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. (Adapted from the 1996 Domestic Violence Awareness Month Resource Manual of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence) Hence, October is designated as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. However, I declare every month Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence is on-going and hideous to the point that it must be addressed with aggressive, determinate energy to erase it, regardless of the month.
The family, God’s specially-designed institution, has too many scars and blemishes due to domestic violence and abuse. This unfortunate actuality is heart-wrenching because violence and abuse of any kind destroy the very fibers that God has so intricately woven together to create the family.
Violence and abuse, whether emotional, mental, or physical, not only destroy the family, but also distort the very picture of marriage, as marriage is the foundation of the family and represents Christ and His bride, the Church. Marriage is an honorable union which is to be reverenced and not tainted with violence, hatred, and anger. It is born of love and the fruit of the Spirit (Gal.5:22-23) while domestic violence is of evil, bitterness and hatred. The Bible says, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:31-32) We clearly see that domestic violence and abuse are in direct opposition and violation of God’s Holy Word.
How do behaviors and attitudes that lead to domestic violence impact the family? When we consider the family, we must understand the order in which God intended the family to follow. Violence and abuse rear their ugly heads when men, women, and children don’t take into account what our Almighty, Sovereign God has put in place for us. Ever since the Fall in the Garden of Eden, the home of the first family, God’s order and man’s actions have not been on the same accord. Abuse is evil and evil reigns when the world embraces it to the point that family abuse is silenced, and even when it is not silenced it is often subtly accepted. How tragic!
Ephesians 5:23-24 and 6:1-4, say “For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), 3 so that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Often people will ignore or conveniently misinterpret God’s Holy Word only to feed the evil and violent thoughts that lead to the devastating behaviors that result in domestic violence and abuse. Ephesians 5:23 states that the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the church. This scripture clearly explains the order in which God has arranged the positions and roles of family members, and in addition, it gives the example, (“as Christ also is the head of the church”). The explanation and the example should be sufficient guidance for proper behaviors in day to day family functions. For example, when we understand that Christ gave His life for the Church and that He leads (is the head of) the Church with love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, we realize there is no place for violence and abuse.
Unfortunately, even though we have scripture, Christian friends, counselors, and many other resources, all families are not happy families. Perhaps the problem lies in the fact that we are seeking to be happy families when we should be seeking to be holy families.
Domestic violence and abusive behaviors are more prevalent than we care to admit. If you are experiencing exploitation, violence or abuse at any level, you must speak out now! The truth is, too many victims remain silent while harm continues and people suffer, in many cases, unto death. The Bible, God’s personal love letter to each of us, addresses every detail we need to circumvent being the victim and avoid victimizing as well.
In conclusion, October is designated as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. However, we are aware that domestic violence occurs every month. Although domestic violence prevails, the Bible gives us clear instructions as to how to reverence marriage, the foundation of the family, which leads to becoming a “holy” family, which in turn can be a “happy” family.
Bio for Evelyn Thomas
Evelyn Thomas resides in San Antonio, Texas with her husband, Nathaniel. In 1993, Evelyn and Nate, guided by the Holy Spirit, founded Your Family Matters Ministry. Working alongside Spirit-filled, friends, Jackie & Cedric Manley and Estella & Draymond Crawford, the ministry was incorporated and became Your Family Matters, Inc. It is a ministry tool that is used to proclaim God’s Word and His plan for relationships through conferences, seminars, and classes. Evelyn is a member of True Vision Church, (Michael S. Brown, Pastor), where she and Nate facilitate the One Flesh Ministry and teach premarital classes. Evelyn speaks at women’s conferences, retreats, and classes. As a couple, Evelyn & Nate counsel post-married and pre-married couples. They speak at marriage conferences and retreats, as well.
Evelyn loves her husband and her family. Her favorite scripture is Isaiah 40:31.