By Lisa N. Phillips
November is Military Family Appreciation Month. With thousands of military members deployed worldwide, it’s no surprise that the family managing the home-front is the glue that holds it together.
The strength and perseverance on the part of the service member is derived from the resilience, resolve and a foundation of family unity their spouse and children maintain at home. In the name of democracy, service members respond faithfully to America’s call, but for many military families, if unity is missing in their home, a spirit of disunity can invade and declare war upon it. Like the adage “a nation that is divided can’t stand,” it is the same for the military family (or all families for that matter).
A divided house cannot overcome its enemy. In addition, the strain of revolving deployments causes undue stress on the military home which, in the absence of unity, may result in marriages sacrificed in the name of freedom.
Unity can be a force to achieve something great or it can be a force to destroy something irreplaceable, like the family. King David, a great warrior, knew plenty about family discord.
His home was drenched in it. As a result, there was no peace behind his palace doors for a time. In hindsight, no doubt, he wrote in Psalm 133: “How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!” We can draw insight from his wisdom.
Unity within a family brings delight. Unity is pleasing, beneficial for us and comforts our souls. Since unity is fast becoming a rare asset, it is also admirable. Unity includes commitment and investment.
Since the family is the smallest unit of society, an invested and unified family partakes in the good and the bad together. Family unity creates mutual endearment for each member and encourages the welfare, security and happiness of all members. Unity should function like the military; it should leave no member forsaken.
We’ve heard the saying there’s strength in numbers. It’s true for family unity as well. When members of a military family support and contribute to the family unit, the family grows in strength. To see a thriving military family build unity together each member must be willing to work hard. The blessings of a strong, unified family make pleasure greater while lessening the heartache of despair. In the bible, oil is the symbol of the Holy Spirit. Its purpose is to bless someone for a particular calling.
Oil is the metaphor King David used to describe family unity in Psalm 133. Family unity is like that sweet-smelling ointment; it draws us close, is contagious, and it spreads, even multiplies. When children marry, they become agents of unity in their own homes. It is like the morning dew. It freshens and moistens our parched hearts. So why is unity in a military family vital? Without it, the family withers.
Lisa N. Phillips is a retired Navy wife who writes and speaks on topics concerning the family (military & civilian). Her book, Faith Steps for Military Families, is available at www.LisaNixonPhillips.com and Amazon.com. You can also email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.