“When my baby sister was born with a life-threatening condition, my family became completely absorbed in supporting her for several months. As a four year old, the experience left me with a deep insecurity – I’ve discovered that my adult drive and competitiveness, which is often destructive, has its roots in this experience.

We all come from a family; a unique combination of ethnic, religious, historical and personality factors. Our family of origin is the most powerful influence in the formation of our attitudes and beliefs about marriage and family. Our childhood experiences, both positive and negative, continue to affect us and our marriage in the present.

“My grandparents were married for 64 years. They were so in love, even in their nineties. When people say that marriages don’t last because people are living longer, I think of them and I know that it is possible to stay married no matter how many years.”

Reflecting on these experiences is one practical way that we can bring the influence to our consciousness where we can proactively choose to adopt or reject the messages and values.

Questions for Reflection

  1. Reflect on a childhood frustration. How does it influence you in the present?
  2. What couples in your extended family provided a good role model of a healthy marriage for you?

Authors: Francine & Byron Pirola

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This article featured in the November 2012 edition of the CathFamily e-Magazine. For more articles and activities, check out: