Scripture reveals that sibling relationships are among life’s most important relationships. As I pointed out earlier this year, in 7 Reasons to Build Lasting Sibling Relationships, sibling relationships prepare you for your future family and future relationships. They also affect your Christian witness, your example to your siblings, the blessedness of future years, and your relationship with God.
We all know we should spend more time with our siblings, but how can we? With so many urgent things to be done in life, can we really expect to find the time to build strong relationships that will last a lifetime?
In the information age, it is difficult, but not impossible, to prayerfully and intentionally create strong sibling bonds. These bonds do not form by accident, but once formed, they are not easily broken.
1. Realize what’s truly important.
As Stephen Covey once wisely observed, we often allow the urgent to take the place of the important. He noted that the things we should spend the most time on are the things that are important, but not urgent. We should eliminate everything that is urgent but not important.
God placed you in close proximity to your siblings so you could form lifelong bonds. This very proximity tends to breed neglect. We minimize meaningful sibling relationships because we think they’ll occur spontaneously.
We think our siblings will be around all the time, until the season of life changes.
First, prioritize your siblings. Then, learn to say no as necessary in order to say yes to the most important.
2. Build relationships through work and errands.
Before marriage, my wife Cassidy made it a point to take a sibling with her as much as possible. She created many memories painting, going to the store, packing DvDs, skinning varmints, and completing projects with her siblings.
She realized a truth that we often miss. At the end of life, relationships are the only things that really matter. She viewed work and activities as a means to the noble end of investing in her siblings.
3. Purposefully invest your evenings.
For many, the evening is the only time of day when they are free from the pressures of work. Therefore, evenings are prime times for creating lasting family memories, discipling family members, and engaging in conversation.
While evenings may be the best times for most to build strong family relationships, they are also the easiest times to overcommit to activities outside the home.
Sadly, we have bought into the lie that business is godliness. We think that it’s fine to neglect our families if we’re doing good things. We find it easy to overcommit our evenings because we want to please all men.
My best memories with siblings center around evenings spent playing games or talking late into the night. I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything.
4. Strictly regulate your smartphone.
My sister Allison is one of the most intentional people I know with sibling relationships. She generally leaves her phone off or away from her during mealtimes and after supper.
She never allows her phone to replace real interaction.
I’ve always known that she valued me as more important than a text or phone call.
5. Slow down.
Sibling relationships are not just built through dates; they are built through small, meaningful moments that last a lifetime.
These moments include the following:
- Forgetting about your projects in order to listen to an excited younger sibling talk about their day.
- Taking five minutes to write a thoughtful card.
- Praising a sibling’s character.
- Asking about a sibling’s project.
These things help you cultivate an attitude of thoughtful attentiveness. They also help you become more aware of how you’re siblings are doing spiritually.
You can find these moments by creating more margin in your life for the things that matter most.
Unlike some of you, my single days at home are over. Priorities have shifted. Though I had my brothers over last week for a competitive game Axis and Allies, I don’t have the same level of interaction with them that was available to me the first 20 years of my life.
In retrospect, my greatest regret is not slowing down as much as I should have. For most of my life, I didn’t realize how important my sibling relationships were. There were moments when I viewed their interruptions as disturbances rather than as divine opportunities.
If you’re still at home, I urge you to seek to spend quality time with your siblings so that you will have no regrets once you leave.
It is never selfish or unreasonable to say no to other “important things” in order to say yes to building up God’s first institution of family, one sibling at a time.
You cannot spend too much time with your siblings. You’ll never wish you would have spent less time with your siblings. You’ll only regret that you didn’t spend more.
Question: Which one of these points resonated with you the most?
For Further Reading:
The Christian Family: Home-Making by J.R. Miller
Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends by Sarah, Stephen, and Grace Mally
A Father’s Reward by Phil Downer and Jerry MacGregor
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend books I personally have read and believe will add value to my readers.