What is a family? I previously explored the definition here concluding that we are born into families and learn how to form our own as part of growing up. When we grow up and start families of our own, how do our newly acquired families fit in? In other words do we become family members of our spouse’s family? If so, does it happen gradually or instantaneously — as soon as we hear the newly married couple pronounced man and wife? And are we strangers until that moment?
I am certain of two things: not all families are the same and that I know how this happens in my family. Familial status is not granted in any royal decree the morning of the wedding, but much rather earned over time. By the time my parents walked me and my sister down the isle, our husbands had already become very much part of our families. They are loved, respected, and cared for the very same way my sister and I are. There is simply no distinction. They voice their opinions, offering compliments and harsh criticisms as they wish and are considered family members with full rights.
Life isn’t certain: jobs can be lost, engagements and vows of marriage broken. What is certain, and what cannot be taken away, are hope and faith in yourself. Sometimes you just have to have pride, to read between the lines and know that no matter what or who life throws your way, you’ll take the high road if not for yourself, most certainly for your young family. Out of respect, because to you, family is what matters — that is what my family taught me.