Sin, which marrs everything in life, has left its scar on our closest relationships too. The number of families that experience the sweetness that family was designed to have, are very few indeed.

You know how it goes. Boy meets girl, the romance blossoms, sweet words flow from one to the other, affectionate exclamations of appreciation and esteem for the other fill the air. The wedding day is celebrated with appropriate extravagance and beloved witnesses. The newly married enjoy an ecstatic honeymoon, enjoying the bliss of covenant companionship, physical pleasure, and marital bliss. Over the years kids get added to the marriage, cars turn to vans, and school agendas squish out all the family fun things you were hoping to experience. To top it off, the Tempter comes slithering into the family, sowing some sinful desires, reversing the husband-wife roles, messing up the parent-child roles, planting doubt about God’s perfect design for family. One, or both, of the spouses sin—not to mention the kids!—they sin against God, and against each other. The Tempter, being so deceptively sly, makes room for some pride to fester and grow in each family member’s heart. This pride at first fears confrontation, and then resists correction, piling up arguments of blame-shifting and excuses. The result is a family that is filled with shame, remorse, and a down-ward spiral of bad consequences.

This could describe many a family, but this particular family is well known to us: Adam and Eve, and the first two of their many children. “Perfect” beginning—“sweethearts for life”!—marred by sin, infecting their children, continuing imperfectly for the rest of their 900+ years on this earth.

How then can a family full of fighters, become a normal godly family again, and remain a good normal godly family?

As with all problems in life, family problems are fixed with two basic ingredients. The first ingredient is good theology. The second ingredient is practical godliness. When mixed together, all problems get solved. Even if only one spouse in a marriage will accept these two ingredients, then the marriage will already be over 50% better, and the effects on the family will be visible too. Psalm 26:1 implies that the Lord vindicates those who “walk in integrity” and who “trust in the LORD”. “walk in integrity” is nothing other than practical godliness, and “trust in the Lord” is essentially good theology. And if you have those two, then God will vindicate you.

Fighters become, and remain, family, when they have good theology and practise daily godliness. Make these two ingredients the pursuit of your life by placing yourself under Spirit-gifted teachers and among Spirit-gifted saints to teach you the theology you so desperately need and to exhort you in the godliness you could really benefit from.