How much does your family of origin affect your relationship with God?


#1

One of the major examples I’ve found many people use is that God is like a parent, or God loves us and wants the best for us just like a parent does. I think for most of us, this is our first model of a lot of things. Parents are mini gods, of a sort.

But not all of us necessarily had healthy upbringings. I can’t speak to those whose parents told them flat-out that they were unwanted or that they didn’t love them. I think for many of us though, it was more a case that what love looked like was warped. I don’t think it was always a defect of love per se, but a defect in other parts twisting its expression.

There was a definite insistence if you talked to other people, that you should be glad that you had parents who loved you and who wanted to set you on the right path. (To be fair, I think a lot of that is down to communication issues.) They hurt you because they love you, and when you get to be more mature you’ll understand that it was necessary. They hurt you because you’re not doing what’s right and if you did what you ought they wouldn’t have to.

I expect the form it takes depends on the family. For me, one of the biggest barriers were that I was generally just assumed to know what I was supposed to do and how to do it, and if I didn’t then it was my fault for not trying hard enough. That definitely crept into faith - it’s hard not to be afraid that I’m somehow committing a major sin and have no idea but God’s still going to punish me for it.


#2

My dad hates me. My parents divorced. I have the hardest time understanding the catholic teaching of marriage because I’ve never seen what I consider to be a healthy marriage. A lot of married couples argue all the time and argue horribly. And then others have cheated on each other.


#3

Not even in your circle of friends?
Apart from my parents’ marriage, my in-laws’ marriage, and a number of marriages of aunts and uncles, I have quite a few friends who have been happily married for years (in some cases 10, 15, 20 years) and others who are in a happy unmarried long-term partnership.

I do know some couples who have split up and others who had a bad first marriage and a much better second marriage, but it seems odd to me that someone in adulthood would not see any couple who were doing well and getting along without regular arguments or cheating. Good relationships are not THAT rare.


#4

My friends who are married have told me in confidence that they cheated or thought about it. And I’ve seen my friends argue/yell at their wives or vice versa

Granted I only know very few devoutly Catholic people. Of them, I know four couples. One argues in church with their spouse in front of everyone. The other told me he should’ve been with a hotter woman. The others wife tried to kill herself recently.

Of my non catholic friends, things are even worse. Most of my friends live with their girlfriends before marriage and they have no intention of marrying at all. Or the select few who are married go to strip clubs or have cheated. Or they just go home and smoke weed or do Xanax to numb themselves.


#5

Oh, you must live in my town :neutral_face:


#6

The title of the thread asks , “How much does your family of origin affect your relationship with God?”

Parents are the primary educators of their children .

I was blessed in the parents I had . Yes , they were flawed like us all and made mistakes like us all , but I owe so much to their simple , uncomplicated faith ,

So my answer to the question is that my relationship with God owes a lot to my parents , and to the good .


#7

Good example of our parents is crucial how we view God as loving and merciful. I may have imperfect parents but at least they try to be good parents because they believe in God. They are loving but they are hateful sometimes. The struggles & challenges to our faith is always there 'coz we are sinful but good news is that we have a savior.


#8

“Thinking about it” without more may not even be a sin; it might be a temptation that simply needs to be overcome. Very few people are going to stay together for decades without even a passing thought of another person, or of simply being free from the marriage. The problems happen when it goes beyond passing thought and takes root.

Arguing or yelling from time to time can also be a normal part of marriage. When I was a child my parents would engage in some real donnybrooks over relatively dumb stuff. It never went beyond raised voices (no abuse, no one leaving beyond a quick walk around the block to cool off). I understand my maternal grandparents were the same way, it’s an Irish thing. My husband and I argued less, but we still had a handful of memorable lulus.

I know you don’t have a good background to understand marriage, but you also shouldn’t have unrealistic expectations of what a marriage is. It means you love each other and have each other’s back no matter what. It doesn’t mean you don’t have temptation or perhaps even commit a sin. It doesn’t mean you never argue or have a serious disagreement. It doesn’t mean fairy tale perfect. It means you love and remain committed to each other and work through all that and more.


#9

At the risk of bringing down the board’s wrath, being a devout Catholic or a devout anything is no guarantee that the person is going to be a good marital partner or that a couple will have a good marriage. It can help, but marital skills are largely commitment and communication and expectations skills, and life skills. Not holiness skills.

I know probably less than 5 devout Catholics under senior citizen age and one of them is already going through divorce and annulment and in a new relationship.


#10

I am like you Rob, I was blessed. I firmly believe my mother gave me a big push back to church after she died. I know she dearly wished I would return to regular practice while she was alive, and I sort of did because I had to take her to Mass when she was in her last years and from there I got interested in going to Rome on a pilgrimage and she pushed me to go. I think that got the ball rolling and it just went from there.

My parents prayed every day I knew them, through all kinds of illnesses, family deaths and hardships. Never once did they lose faith. I was lucky to have that example and that my mother taught me in a mostly loving way to pray and love Jesus and Mary and the saints. Those memories of being 5 years old and Mom teaching me about prayers and Jesus and the Poor Souls and Mary and Fatima came back in a big way when my mom died. I just wanted to be that happy little girl again, before life got complicated and messy and dirty. I try every day to reach back to that childlike faith.


#11

I’m not talking about just raised voices. I’m talking about insulting each other.


#12

Sorry but the point of marriage is to help the other spouse to heaven. I wouldn’t marry someone unless they shared my faith and would raise my kids catholic


#13

That’s not the right way to argue and it’s pretty immature.
My pre-Cana class actually taught a session on constructively arguing vs the wrong way to argue.


#14

Outward devotion doesn’t necessarily imply godliness in the private life either.


#15

So now that you know what not to do…go break the cycle…


#16

That’s your choice. I note that my Protestant husband did more to help me get to Heaven than most of the Catholics I ever knew, and I would hope I helped him there, so the duty is not just a Catholic thing. But it is fine to prefer a Catholic spouse if you’d rather.


#17

Protestants are still christian. I figure marrying one is better than marrying an atheist. But not all Protestants are made equally. Be glad you found a good one


#18

I don’t remember having a whole lot of support outside my own family.

In retrospect, I understand. Absent quite overt abuse it’s very difficult for those not extremely close to the family to know the difference between a child who simply chafes at being taught discipline and responsibility (as most children at some point do), and a child who is dealing with unfair discipline or inappropriate expectations. And teenagers are not the best at communicating the problem in a clear manner.

Most people assume, probably justifiably, that they’re dealing with the former. So they encourage the young person to submit and obey and tell them that their parents love them and want the best for them. They tell them it’s not so bad and they’ll understand when they’re older. That’s true in a lot of cases. But it means if you don’t have a supportive family, outside adults will almost always redirect you back to your parents and tell you to talk to them.


#19

Boy, can I relate to this. It took years for me to figure out why my father disliked me. Then one day I realised that my parents married in November, and I was born the following May. Couple that with the fact that (according to my grandmother), one night while they were dating, my mother showed up at my dad’s house crying hysterically, and after a private talk they were engaged, and it’s not hard to see that it was pretty much a shotgun wedding. No wonder he hated me. I took away his freedom and made him become an adult, with adult responsibilities. My folks also divorced, when I was thirteen. However, over the years I have seen many happy and healthy marriages amongst my friends, which is a blessing.


#20

Are you female or male? My male friends agree with me about marriage but my female friends think marriage is great and wonderful.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.