Is Blood Really Thicker Than Water?

blood 1

Lately, I have been thinking about the proverb: Blood is thicker than water.   The meaning behind this saying is that family is blood and blood is thicker than water. Essentially, family  relationships are considered stronger than any other types of relationships, such as the relationship between friends.  Family related events in recent years have led me to believe otherwise and question the validity of this proverb.  What saddens me is that even though I have seen strong bonds between families, I have seen even more broken families where there is no love or trust. All my life, I have been told that having a large family meant there would be sufficient support in times of sorrow and trouble.  My mother always urged me to have more children for that reason.

My faith in family members supporting one another has been tested time and again, not just in my personal life, but with those outside my immediate family as well. My husband’s family is a classic example of blood NOT thicker than water. He is one of the few good apples in a barrel of rotten ones. He does not like conflict and absolutely hates confrontations and will never say anything bad about the way his family treats him. There have been times when I  want to slay his dragons for him and comfort him. His biological mother died when he was very young, leaving him and his younger brother essentially orphans. His father remarried and had many children with his second wife. Think Cinderella, but in a different context. I am by no means his “Princess Charming” but I try to protect him as much as I am able to. I know he hurts deeply, but like a man, plays it down and tells me to not worry, because how they treat him (and me) just means that we do not owe his family anything. I hurt for this husband of mine who surely misses having family who truly cares for him. He has found love and acceptance from my family, which has given him a sense of belonging. My family is far from perfect, but for the most part, have been supportive of each other.

When families bond and truly understand the meaning of what they represent to eachother,  it is a beautiful thing to see and hear them in action. What I have come to realize is that there will be families who fit this proverb and others who have no idea what it means to share the same blood. They remember you when they need something from you (i.e. money) and ignore you when they have no use for you.

Although I believe that blood is thicker than water in some families, I do not believe the sentiment is true in the majority of families. The dynamics, often negative, that I see daily on a personal and professional manner certainly plays a role in my personal view. What I do believe is that my true friends will be there for me no matter the circumstance. The following verse from Proverbs struck a chord in me:

There is a friend that sticks closer than a brotherProverbs 18:24.

This verse contradicts the ideology that blood is thicker than water. It makes more sense to me and has truth to it, because I have ALWAYS been able to rely on my best friend to cheer me on when I feel like giving up, commiserate with me when life looks bleak, and stand by me when no one else would. I would rather have one true friend than many family members who have no idea the meaning of unconditional love and loyalty.

For those readers out there who are fortunate to have families that practice “blood is thicker than water” I mean no disrespect. This is purely my perspective based on what I have seen, heard, and read. I am grateful for what I do have.


4 thoughts on “Is Blood Really Thicker Than Water?

  1. I am so glad that I read this today. Family should be there for you, no matter what the circumstance. Both my Husband and my family have failed us, miserably. They have been hurtful and we have forgiven time and time again. But when you do reach the point where you have to stop allowing yourself to get hurt? We were always kind and respectful to certain family members, yet they continually betray our trust. My mother in law has been very cruel to my husband and me; she criticizes us and makes really nasty comments. We have not spoken to her in more than 2-years, yet she still tries to call and thinks that her son can have a relationship with her again. It’s a long and complicated story, but I just want to say that “Blood is not ALWAYS thicker than water.”

    • I feel your pain. It is hard to reconcile how family can cause such pain, so often, and in so many ways. Keeping distance seems to be the only way to stay sane. Maybe one day, forgiveness will be in my cards, but not now. Thank you for reading, and sharing your story.

  2. Hi! Stumbled across this entry and thought maybe I should say that the phrase “blood is thicker than water” actually comes from the proverb “The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb” which means the exact opposite of how we use it.

    It’s very sad when our family breaks down, but we have to remember that these are not the strong bonds we forge for ourselves that are based on mutual love and respect, these are bonds implied by biology. Surround yourself with friends and I’m sure you will find the love you deserve.

    • Rob, thank you for pointing the origin of “blood is thicker than water.” Family should be those who we can count on, but it does not always happen.

      Happy New Years!

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