A couple of years ago, I was talking to a young fiancee who was upset because her future in-laws didn't like her. As she shared her experience, it was hard to believe that these adults, who were otherwise decent people, could be so socially tone deaf, so oblivious to their own unkind words and actions. 

The woman wanted to know how she could fix it, how she could make them accept her. But the sad fact was that there was probably nothing she could do but ride it out.

Families are like bodies that have been functioning for several years with the same hearts, livers, stomachs, spleens, and various other guts. And like human bodies, they don’t respond well to transplants. The moment those new organs move in and start trying to become a permanent fixture, the body’s autoimmune system detects a foreigner and starts the process of transplant rejection.

This part doesn’t belong here!  It doesn’t match!  It hasn’t been here for years like the rest of us!  Purge, purge, purge!

Some folks are blessed enough to become family transplants and only need a period of minor adjustment. Many others suffer years of rejection before the family body gives up the fight and recognizes that the transplant is there to stay.

Some folks are blessed enough to become family transplants and only need a period of minor adjustment. Many others suffer years of rejection before the family body gives up the fight and recognizes that the transplant is there to stay.

When a body tries to reject a transplant, it often needs powerful drugs to reverse the rejection process. And in the case of families, the most powerful drug to stop the natural process of rejection is loving humility.

Families have to recognize that there’s more at stake than maintaining their cabal of folks who have shared the same last name for several years–there’s a new marriage that needs support, a new transplant that feels completely out of place and needs to be assured that he or she belongs.

God designed families to grow by bringing in new transplants. So the next time you get a new family member, do your best to recognize that the new member isn't just some expendable accessory - he or she is a vital organ that your blood relative can't live without. And if you go with your natural instinct and reject, you might end up losing a lot more than you bargained for.

Joshua Rogers is an attorney and writer who lives in Washington, D.C. You can follow Joshua on Twitter @MrJoshuaRogers and Facebook, and read more of his writing at JoshuaRogers.com.