The term “Family of Origin” refers to the family that we grew up in – that is our parents and siblings. It may also include other relatives who lived with us during part of our childhood. These people strongly influence who we become.
Our Family of Origin is usually our first experience of people outside the womb. We start our lives surrounded by these family members and receive their love, care, nurture and support. They influence us in many ways: in the way we see the world, building up our character, teaching us to share with others, helping us to discover our strengths and weaknesses, in short: their presence has a lot of significance and impact on our lives especially in the first few years.
There are other factors in the wider community that will also leave or rub off some of their effects on us apart from the family environment. This could be our church community, school, sports club, etc. As we grow, we make friends, start school, university/college, employment, and follow a state in life whether single, married or as a consecrated person. All the aspects mentioned above have an influence on the human person.
When it comes to entering married life, a person brings into the marriage who they are as a whole: including the influences from family, community, job, culture, past experiences, etc. That’s why there is usually a certain degree of tension in newly married couples’ relationships because each person is unique and different with their own character and when two become one, when they live together day in, day out, there can be certain friction. One example can be a difference in cultures, as items such as food, cultural traditions and way of living can be a world apart.
Usually as time goes on, they would be able to adjust more to each other as they get to know each other better with their character, tastes, good and bad habits, way of doing things, etc. As this happens, there is usually less conflict about small issues. Conflict can arise due to these and other factors, but couples should not despair that their relationship is over. It is just a part of the ‘teething’ process in their relationship, but if both parties communicate well and work together to overcome them they usually get over the hurdles in the relationship. As time goes on, other factors can put a strain on the relationship but if the couple have a solid marital foundation, they face them as a team and work together to overcome them.
There are couples that cannot sort out the problems in their relationships, they might need help from outside sources. Seeking outside help, should not be regarded as shameful but if necessary it should be made use of, whether it’s given from the couples’ family, friends, Church or counsellors. The Catholic Church offers help and counselling to couples going through difficulty in their relationship. One Catholic agency is CatholicCare and they can be contacted on (02) 9933 0222 or http://www.ccss.org.au
Each person is special and unique and that’s what makes the world interesting as we are all different. There are many things to discover in your husband or wife and many couples say that they don’t know each other fully even after 50 years of marriage. This can be seen as helping to keep the marriage alive, fresh and interesting as everyday one can discover new things about the other. If people look at marriage and its hurdles with this type of ‘lens’, their marriage would not be seen as boring, but will actually encourage each other to work together so that their marriage can be the best it can be and also can be inspirational to others.