Strong family bonds are built through a combination of love and dependability. Whether a biological or "chosen" connection, this bond occurs when you know someone cares deeply enough to purposely and actively be in your life.
Family members who have close relationships are the ones who share time, laughter, and experiences together. Even if they're not very much alike individually, they can find common ground.
Do you have a sister, brother, or parent with whom you have practically nothing in common as an adult? And yet, when you visit that family member, you feel the closeness between you?
Odds are there was quality time spent together at various points, building memories and creating traditions.
This is why, for many families, the holidays are so meaningful. It's why, when you smell a pie baking, you may think fondly to the time when Grandma spent hours in the kitchen preparing Thanksgiving dinner. And how silly Aunt June would always sneak a piece to share with you on the front porch as soon as it came out of the oven. When no one was looking.
Memories of time spent with a family member forge a deep connection. When you give your time to someone, and are truly present with that person, it makes her feel important. And don't we all want to feel important to someone?
Laughter may be the best medicine, but it can also be the glue that bonds two or more people.
When you laugh with someone, particularly over an experience you've shared, it definitely brings you closer.
Notice I wrote laugh with, not at, someone. Sure, there are times when each of us has been the butt of a joke. Or we've done or said something that put us in a position to be made fun of. These moments are not usually bond builders, even though there are many of them in every family.
But when you and your brother hop on a sled to go down a snowy hill like you did when you were kids, and the overloaded sled capsizes sending you both face-first into the slush, you can't help but laugh with each other. These are the moments that fill your heart.
A very important tie that binds family together is knowing you are always there for each other.
One heartwarming example of this is when you walk into a hospital lobby and see an entire section populated by family members waiting for news on a loved one's surgery outcome. They talk, reminisce, and pray as they wait. Whether the outcome is good or not so good, they sigh in relief or share hugs and tears - together.
Simply being there is one of the best things you can do to build family bonds. Graduations, dance recitals, birthdays, holiday gatherings, weddings, funerals, and hospital visits - your presence lets them know they can depend on you. And they'll let you know you can depend on them, too.
Even if you can't be there in person, send a note or maybe a text, make a call, something to let your loved one know you care. Knowing your heart is with them when you can't be will still encourage the closeness you seek.
There are many varieties of families in our world. But they are all made up of individuals (biologically related or not) who have chosen to commit themselves to the other members of the group.
Each of them is present in the lives of the others. They share quality time, laughter, tears, meals, hugs, and give what they can materially or otherwise to show they care for one another. They make memories and build traditions to share with future generations. This is what family bonds are all about.