In my profession over forty years I occasionally worked with individuals seeking counsel for relationship problems. Most often the context for the problem was the family. In the most severe cases, family members had not talked to one another for long periods of time. One son and father had not communicated verbally for over five years. More than sad.
People, being people, are going to have relationship problems. Obviously, relationships vary in importance, but those within the family rate right up at the top. In virtually all cultures, the family is one of the cornerstones of societal well-being. It is the basic unit that provides love, caring, and security for individuals. At least that is the way it is supposed to work.
Good relationships in general make happy campers. This truism is operative across the spectrum of human interactions, but it is critical with regard to stabilizing, life-enhancing family structures. To the contrary, unhealthy relationships within the family most often work to produce the opposite of a sense of well-being.
The American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, and a host of other mental health organizations all stress the critical nature of healthy family relationships. I would posit that most people intuit this, as well as having experienced the negative effects of relational breakdowns.
My point: given the above, the family is by far the most important in the world of relationships. This is not to deny or denigrate the value of outside-the-family relationships, but putting first things first would encourage directing one’s energies toward the family as an a priori effort. It, of course, takes two to tango. But I always need to look in the mirror first and ask the person I see there what he can do to promote and celebrate the gift of family.