Written to expand the definition of the contemporary American family to be more inclusive, this book approaches diversity as the rm and does t assume conventional family values. The theoretical position is the dialectical approach, which assumes paradox and relational tension as rmal, rather than a systems approach, which is a form of psychological cause and effect. Chapter One defines 'dialectics' in the context of family communication and family relations. Chapter Two addresses the question, 'What is a real family?' Chapters Three to Six examine four types of family diversity: structural, cultural, developmental, and functional. Chapter Seven takes a bold step by examining the meaning and effects of family spirituality, a topic rarely considered in academic circles but one that has ermous impact on the communication behaviors and relationships within the family.