family-parenting-with-baby-bw_credit-Shutterstock.comWhen you throw a leaf into a stream of water, what happens?  The leaf will drift with the flow of the current.  Our marriages and families are no different.  Every marriage and family relationship has a flow.  The current flow or direction of your family is either moving closer toward God and each other, or you are drifting further apart from the things that matter most in your life.  We call it the danger of drift. The good news is that there is hope.  You can stop drifting and start living with greater intention.  You can refocus and renew your situation if you’re willing to make some necessary shifts in your marriage and family relationships.

In our new book, Family Shift, we share a 5-Step framework to help you make a necessary shift to move you from where you are to where you desire to be in your marriage and family.

1. S- Start With the End in Mind

This is a shift in direction.

Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) Where there is no vision, the people perish. Without vision marriages die, dreams die, passion dies and hope dies.  This is why every marriage and family must start with the end in mind.  Ask yourself the question, who do I want to become as a husband, father, wife or mother?  What do I want my legacy to be?  The problem with vision is that it leaks.  We all experience vision drift at some point.  Vision must be renewed constantly to remind ourselves of who we want to become and where we want to go in our marriage and family.  The second step to making a shift in your marriage and family is to…

2. H- Hold to Core Values

This is a shift in focus.

God wants our marriage, our family relationships, and our relationships with others to be in alignment with His values.  What are His values?  According to Jeremiah 9:23-24, His values are kindness, justice, and righteousness.  These values are of utmost importance to God.

How about you? What is most important to you? What are the guiding principles, priorities or qualities that you use to define or shape your marriage or family?   Answering these questions as a family is crucial because what we believe determines how we live.  Our values not only drive our priorities and decisions, but they also shape the culture of our marriage and family relationships.  The third step is to…

This is a shift in motivation.

Ephesians 2:10 (NLT) For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. As a couple or family, we can all share the same values or qualities that are important to us, but how we express those values are often demonstrated through our goals, passions and struggles. These 3 things can serve as a guidance system for our families and serve as fuel to motivate us as we strive to fulfill the destiny God has for our lives.

No matter what you have been through or what season you’re in as a person, couple or family, it’s never too late to make some shifts to help give new direction, focus and motivation to your most important relationships.  Even our greatest setbacks can be turned into our greatest comebacks.   The fourth step is to…

4. F- Find Life-Giving Friendships

This is a shift in reinforcement.

Proverbs 27:17 (NLT) As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Whether we realize it or not, the people we choose to associate with will either cause us to drift further away from God and His purposes, or they will inspire us to become more like Him. No matter what age or stage we are in we need 3 kinds of friends.  We call them the TLC of friendships.

Tough: Friends who are spiritually and morally tough will make us better and bolder in our own faith.  And they will help us stay on track in the things that matter most in our lives.

Loyal: Loyal friends celebrate our successes and grieve our losses.  So often, we see the opposite, friends who celebrate someone’s losses and grieve over someone’s successes.

Committed: True friends love and accept us no matter what and are aligned with our mission, vision and values.  They are unconditionally committed to help us grow to become and fulfill all that God has for our lives.  The fifth step is to…

5. T- Teach by Example

This is a shift in purpose.

“You teach what you know; you reproduce who you are.” -Jack Frost

 Ephesians 5:1-2 (TPT) Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.

Only God can help us become who He has created us to be.  With God’s help, we have found three things that we can do to follow Christ’s example when it comes to our spouse and children.

  • Love Unconditionally: The best way to demonstrate love to one another is by the way we treat one another.  If we want to make the needed shifts in our lives that will create an atmosphere of security in our marriage and our home, we need to start showing unconditional love by loving them for who they are, not for what they do.
  • Lead Intentionally: How do we lead with greater intention every day?  We do this in our talk. Why?  Because our kids are listening. Another way we lead with greater intention is in our walk.  Why?  Because our kids are watching.  The sobering truth is that our life is a stage for all to see and hear.
  • Let Go Purposefully: The goal of parenting is to leave our kids more than just memories, but a legacy.

This is our prayer for you. Remember, we cannot become who we need to be by remaining who we are.  Our prayer is that you will make the necessary shifts in your family so you can become everything God has made you to be.

 

Guest post by Rodney Gage and Michelle Gage, authors of Family Shift: The 5-Step Plan To Stop Drifting and Start Living with Greater Intention.  To learn more, check out familyshift.com.

More from Beliefnet and our partners
previous posts

Pope Francis is telling families they should spend less time on their smart phones and more time communicating at mealtime. The pope uses Mary and Joseph as examples. “I ask myself if you, in your family, know how to communicate or are you like those kids at mealtables where everyone is chatting on their mobile […]

At 25, Jillian Hanson was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. Knowing she would face a battle ahead, Hanson gave Allegretti an “out” of their relationship in July 2017. “I brought it to the table and told him this was going to be a lot,” she said. “But he told me that he would never […]

Nice guys can finish first. A new Michigan State University Study published in the Journal of Research and Personality found that being a nice and pleasant partner is a more important factor than compatibility. What the researchers found most surprising was that things like shared interests and similar personalities had very little to do with […]

Is technology interference destroying your relationship? Phones may be negatively impacting your romantic relationships, in addition to your sex life. One of the big ways they are hurting relationships is by impacting couples’ communication patterns. We live in an age where conversations have been replaced with endless scrolling through social media apps and sites. As […]