When you go to the doctor, a nurse asks you for your family history. You list illnesses that your grandmother endured, and her mother before her. You are sure to include that your grandfather struggled with heart disease. Cancer, Alzheimer’s, Osteoporosis, all of these are important family issues to discuss with your doctor.
Why is this so important? Because there is a chance, based on your genetics, you too could suffer from similar diseases and disorders. Knowing these things and discussing them with your doctor helps you watch for signs so you can, for example, catch cancer early and treat it before it spreads. Or perhaps your family history suggests that you should exercise and watch your cholesterol more than the average person. This knowledge helps you stay healthy.
Family Relationship History
For the same reason you talk to your doctor about your family’s health history, talking about your family’s relationship history with your partner is important. Some people had a wonderful childhood and have no problem sharing every detail. Still others may find it difficult to discuss issues like abuse, neglect, or negative patterns. But talking about these things is very important. By communicating about your family’s level of connectedness, traditions, strengths and weaknesses, you can work together to find out what you want to build in your own family. You can choose to keep certain aspects of your family past, get rid of negatives, and compromise to create new traditions.
The Power to Change
Was your dad an alcoholic? Did your mom have a problem saying she loved you? You have the power to change those patterns in your life. For example, if you know that your family struggled with alcohol addiction it would be wise to be careful about how much alcohol you consume. Or maybe your dad worked too much and didn’t spend much time with you. You have the power to change that in your own family with your children, should you choose to have them. If your parents had a distant, cold relationship, you can make connectedness a priority with your partner. By understanding your inherited strengths and weaknesses, you can adjust accordingly. You can watch for signs to prevent negatives from spreading into your life.
Let Us Help.
Our couple’s workshops have a whole section devoted to family history. We help you work through your family background and map out what you want to pursue as you work to strengthen your relationship. Click here to register.
If you have already taken a workshop, we’d like to hear from you. How did this section help your relationship? How did it help you personally?