Society is hard on families today. There is little respect for family life shown on television or in modern books and many people treat families as temporary and disposable. Some who take family seriously are at a loss as to how to pursue a stronger family.
We know that when families are united in common goals and values, it is easier to strengthen the family. If we can convince our children and our spouse to join us in the things that matter in life, we can strengthen the family and increase the unity.
Religion is one way to create unity in a home. It creates a framework for shared values and practices. Mormons, for instance work very hard at creating family unity through a variety of practices, many of which can be carried out even without being Mormon. Mormon is a nickname for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Family Home Evening is one such practice. On Monday evenings, Mormons gather in their home, with just their own family, to have a family meeting. They have a scripture, prayers, hymns, a lesson on a gospel principle of their choice, games, and treats. This provides a scheduled time to enjoy family life and to share values and goals. Of course, they spend time together throughout the week, but this provides a guaranteed time for busy weeks.
Each day begins and ends with a shared family prayer. Mormon families also read the scriptures together each day. This provides even more opportunities for Mormon families to share their values and strengthen the bond of their faith.
A Book of Mormon prophet taught:
17 And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God (Mosiah 2).
This verse has important applications for families. When families serve each other, their love is strengthened. They learn to put the needs of others first and to be watchful of situations requiring their help. When people receive help from their families, they feel loved and valued.
God created families and made them central to His plan for us. This is why He made the love families feel for one another so powerful. Mormons believe families are intended to last not just for a short lifetime, but forever. When they marry in the Mormon temple, they are married for eternity, not just until a death divorce. Knowing that the entire family—parents and children—are joined together forever gives them a stronger commitment to making their families work. They don’t let little things that won’t matter in a million years get in the way of making it to eternity. Together, they set goals and work to become more Christ-like and to strengthen their families so eternity will be a blessing.
What would you be doing differently if you knew your family was chosen by God to last forever? It has been, but it’s up to you to make it happen. When you think eternally, unity becomes easier.