Family Feud

Hello people! It’s another week – and another opportunity to enjoy God’s goodness, grow, contribute to your society, give love, receive love, and basically enjoy the many blessings of life. I’m always excited to write and curate the content you get each week. It gives me some sense of fulfillment to share my thoughts with you and it’s encouraging to see the comments and feedback. Keep them coming please!

The past week has been an eventful one across the world with different shocking events – some good, and some not-so-good. Here in Lagos, the past week came with news of opening of churches and restaurants, giving people the opportunity to further return to work, religious gatherings, and some level of “life as we knew it”. Amidst all happening, please remember to keep safe. Safeguard your physical, mental, and emotional health.

Today, we discuss familial relationships. I’m clearly on a roll with writing about relationships but I find that it’s one area of our lives that we tend to gloss over and believe it “should” work, without necessarily investing time, mind-share and effort into ensuring it thrives. It’s important to pay attention to our familial relationships as they contribute to our self-narrative, mindsets and support system as we go through life. Often, difficult familial relationships can cause increased stress and strain in our lives – affecting our work, spirituality, health, finances, and even other social relationships.

For me, growing up with just one sibling was fun even as the younger child. My brother and I were a two-man riot squad, a formidable team to deliver doses of mischief and defend one another in the face of discipline when one person got caught. Our family was close knit and we were raised to be actively interested and involved in each other’s lives. I remember my mum saying over and over that we were the best friends we would ever have. Till today, my older brother is one of my best friends and despite our differences and disagreements; we remain committed to building our friendship and staying actively involved in each other’s lives and families. We are also blessed to have spouses who also understand the value of family, align with our vision, and help us navigate through the challenging times with love, wisdom and maturity.

As an adult with my own family now, I’m truly grateful for my mum’s intentionality in fostering that love, friendship, and sense of commitment to each other. While I know family dynamics vary, and not everyone got my kind of upbringing; it is important for us as adults to intentionally create enabling environments for ourselves, our spouses and children to develop healthy familial relationships without the burden of fear, comparison and competition.

The family setting shouldn’t be where we learn to politicize relationships with one sibling striving to outdo the other to win favor, assassinate one another’s character, or make others feel less than themselves. While these unhealthy expressions may not start out with these intentions; this is often the result when distrust, fear, guilt, repressed anger, blame, shame, suspicion, etc. replace “brotherly kindness”.

Our homes and families should be the first institutions where individuals receive unconditional love, support, friendship, and assurance through life. As stakeholders in families –parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.; it is our responsibility to work towards intentionally building and sustaining healthy familial relationships.

You may highlight individual differences, past betrayal and continuous parental comparison over the years as sources of conflict, and I reckon that could be truly painful but my encouragement to each one reading this is, “from this point forward, take responsibility for creating the narrative about the nature of your familial relationships”. Don’t wait for the other party to make the first move, just do it; life is too short to live with assumptions, in regret and lasting bitterness. Accept the events of the past since you can’t change them, seek healing from the resultant effects, and commit to changing the narrative of strife and competition. Life is challenging enough without the home becoming a battle front. Family should be a place of love, rest, acceptance, support, and re-invigoration.

You may be reading this thinking I’m writing from an idealist’s perspective having such an upbringing, but I’ve had my own challenges. Let me say at this point, that our directive from God for relationships isn’t to be “right”, compete or compare ourselves with one another; rather it is to be “at peace with all men”. (Romans 12:18) And this includes family.

I imagine someone is reading this, and thinking, “you don’t know my family”. You’re right, I don’t but I know mine and I know that it has taken a conscious commitment on my part to love, forgive where I’ve been hurt despite the lack of an apology; and wisdom  to manage further interactions – to ensure I can live peacefully and free of any weight. Please prioritize your wholeness by letting go of any hurt and pain.

If your reason for feuding is how different you are, know that differences would always exist; but what makes us stronger as a whole unit (family) is the ability to channel those differences as strengths – where each member of the unit is loved, accepted and functioning in their area of gifting comfortably without the burden or pressure of comparison or trying to fit into a mould. By mould, I mean the temptation to measure people against our own standards, project our strengths on them and put them down when they don’t meet up to these standards and strengths. In truth, they never will.

In conclusion, where there has been a history of hurt and incessant drama, severing the relationship should never be the first option. What you need to do is to wisely build “brick walls” or “picket fences” depending on the severity of the situation. You can check out a discussion I found useful titled “Brick Walls & Picket Fences” here: (N.B: The discussion is about marriage but the principles are valid and applicable to other relationships).

Family wasn’t made for competition. It is not cool to be indifferent about your family. Where there is a cordial relationship, please work in a committed manner to ensure this lasts the test of time. Here are a few suggestions on how to move forward if you’ve had a history of painful relationships:

  • Think back and pinpoint the source of the pain.
  • Forgive and let go, whether you get an apology or not. It may be tricky to rehash the past in conversations, but if you need to do this, then check with the other person or seek professional help either as an outlet or as a broker of closure.
  • Try to re-establish connections in love and respect.
  • Develop a functional system of love, encouragement, and support.
  • Define boundaries in wisdom.
  • Above all, refuse to let the status quo of pain and feuds continue; move into a place of warmth and peace.


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7 Responses

  1. Really blessed with these piece. Thank you. Will like to share with my children and forward to my nieces and nephews. More Grace and Anointing. Remain blessed 🙏

  2. This resonates with everything I have come to know and understand in my life.thanks for reinforcing my beliefs.

  3. Hmmmmmmm “Forgive and let go, whether you get an apology or not.”
    May God give us the strength to do this. . .

    1. Yes! Amen! I know that’s not the widely held opinion but it’s a liberating approach. We must ask ourselves if we would rather let a 5-letter word which an individual may or may not mean, be the determinant of your freedom or captivity? I choose freedom and peace as nothing will hold me back from living my best life. 🙂

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