Family Unity

The joy of a relationship marked by unity is so sweet.   The joy of a family relationship marked by unity is even sweeter.   There is nothing else quite like it.  It cannot be mimicked or replaced.   A unified family provides a soft place to routinely return and recharge in a difficult world.  It offers us a place to lay down our worries within an environment of love and support.  It is a positive contribution to the overall well-being of a person.  

Unity is defined as “the state of being united or joined to a whole” (Oxford Dictionary).  Throughout all of time, humans have possessed an innate desire to belong.  Even at creation, the Lord said “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:18).  We were meant to live in communion and harmony with others.  Our childhood family is the very first place that we have the opportunity to experience such unity.   And, I’d argue it is the place where unity is most impactful.  

I grew up in a family where there was disunity.  Unfortunately, twenty-five years later, there is still a great deal of disunity within my childhood family – particularly between my siblings.  I initially hesitated to write on this topic since my writing is so public and some of my family reads it!  I know it is an especially tender place for my mother.  After all, what mother doesn’t desire unity between their children?  She did then, and still does now.  Many factors have contributed to it; too many to unroll here in a few sentences.  But, they mostly boil down to family members who have been unwilling to get spiritually, mentally and emotionally healthy.  Because they haven’t taken the steps necessary to get healthy as individuals, not only do their family relationships struggle but the entire family unit is fractured.  

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!  It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion!  For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.

Psalm 133

The Bible talks a lot about the fruit of unity.  Psalm 133 is a Song of Ascents by King David that was believed to be sung by the Jewish people to express their joy in coming together for worship. Like “oil on the head, running down on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes” unity is likened to a precious commodity; one where abundance and blessing flow (Psalm 133:2).  When practiced within the family unit, it is a beautifully sacred thing.  

On the other hand, disunity within a family leaves destruction.  You don’t have to look hard within the Bible to find several examples of the fallout from disunity.  The murder of Abel by his brother Cain, the sale of Joseph by his brothers, Esau’s stolen birth rite by his brother Jacob, Amnon’s assassination by his half-brother Absalom, and the list goes on.  These events all had huge impacts on the events that followed within those families.  The scars of family disunity can reach far and wide.  

Yet, like any good story of redemption, there is always a path forward for those that trust in the Lord for the lessons within the pain.  “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).  For me personally, my childhood disunity was the primary motivator of change within my own little family.  More than anything else, I desire the joys of a unified household; one where all members have a continual sense of belonging and where forgiveness and reconciliation is a priority.  It has been a driving force in our family decision-making.

As effective leaders, parents (or whomever the head of household is) should lead the way in effectively building unity within their families.  When I reflect on what my husband and I have done over the years to foster unity within our home, I have identified four key concepts that capture our intention of building unity.  


Parents, it starts with you.  What do you want for your family?  What will be your values that are non-negotiable?  When my kids were little, one way we cast a vision was by establishing a core set of family values.  Our kids all gave input, and together we mutually agreed upon four principles that encompassed what we valued in our family.  We painted these four core values on piece of reclaimed wood and posted them prominently in our home.  We even went on to design a family crest for our family that reflected these same core values. 


Unity does not happen naturally.  Nope.  Wish it did, but it doesn’t.  It is a decision, a choice, a mutual goal.  It requires modeling and endless conversations on the benefits of investing the time and emotional work necessary for unity.  I often find myself pointing my kids back to the family values we established when managing conflict.  It must be done over and over and over again……and requires a heaping pile of grace!


Building unity requires intentionality.  Find things you can do together to build unity and trust!  Vacations, game nights, meals together, being in attendance at important events, family meetings, etc.  The list is endless and can be tailored accordingly to your unique family needs.  For us, we’ve invested our time and money in activities that tend to be family-oriented and in things around our home that bring us together.  Our most recent investment was a wood-fired pizza oven. It’s a simple thing that brings us together as a family to prep, cook and enjoy a meal that everyone loves!


Don’t let strife fester.  Whatever the cost, hit strife head on even if it means placing other things on pause.  Make it a top priority.  Teach your children how to take responsibility for their actions.  Guide them in managing conflict at the onset, and to do it in a manner that respects all family members involved.  As I was writing this, I texted my oldest son and asked for his thoughts on how we’ve promoted unity within our own family.  His response was “You’ve helped us understand that we all have weaknesses and strengths, and have taught us how to embrace them both in each other.”  I love his word choice “embrace” when describing how to tie together weaknesses and strengths. It is not an easy task and can be really messy, but is a goal worth striving toward.

God’s Word calls us to live together in unity.  Just as Paul commanded the church to be “perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment,” so too shall we do this first and foremost within our family (1 Corinthians 1:10). Unity within the family is a training ground for building unity in other areas of life.   

What is the status of unity within your own family?  What steps can you take to promote or improve unity within your family?  After all, it’s the only one you get!

xo Carre

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