How to Build a Loving Home
- Anne Peterson Poet and Author
- 2017 3 Feb
From the time we’re old enough to listen to stories, we were introduced to the world of fairy tales. You know, Once upon a time… In these fairy tales we’d hear about a prince, a princess, and their journey to happily ever after. The only problem was, no one really explained how to get to that place.
Let me describe what two homes might look like today in our world. You’ll find similarities in both homes, but you’ll also see some differences.
Jenna is from a loving home and Steve is not.
In Jenna’s home, there is mutual love. Her mom and dad talk to each other, asking how their day went. They listen without interrupting, because they really are interested. They show patience and use kind words. In Jenna’s home, she’s not surprised to see her dad bring her mom a cup of coffee or vise versa. They mutually serve one another. Jenna’s home not only has love, but there is respect and every person feels it. But this is not what Steve’s home is like.
Steve rarely sees his parents express love to each other. Sometimes when Steve hears his dad tell his mom, “I love you,” it is followed by her being upset about something he didn’t do. And more than once when Steve’s dad reached out to Steve’s mom, she pulled away. Steve’s not sure what a loving house looks like. When his parents are kind to each other, they usually have expectations. Maybe that’s all they saw in their homes growing up.
When there is a disagreement in Jenna’s home, her parents make time to talk about it. They listen to have a better understanding of where the other person is coming from. Because her parents are confident in their love for each other, their relationship can handle disagreements. If they don’t understand something, they don’t get upset; instead they ask questions and get feedback to make sure they are not jumping to conclusions. Jenna’s mom and dad don’t put each other down just because they don’t happen to agree. They see their disagreements as opportunities to stretch.
Steve’s home has a lot of disagreements. Nothing really gets settled because when his parents get upset, eventually the argument turns into a fight. It is not uncommon to walk by Steve’s house and hear his parents yelling. They tell each other, “If you really loved me, then you would agree with me.”
Both Steve and Jenna’s houses are quiet at times.
In Jenna’s home, her parents enjoy being together. They know that quiet gives them a chance to reflect on their day. They’re comfortable because they understand solitude is healthy, especially in a world that moves so fast. Jenna’s mom has made their home to be a sanctuary.
In Steve’s home, the quiet usually comes after the storm. Sometimes it comes before. Steve never knows when there may be another fight. When Steve’s mom feels helpless, she shuts down, not saying a word. One time, she did this for three days. Steve’s parents have learned how to make each other pay by giving the silent treatment. Often Steve will retreat to his bedroom because the silence is so loud. Steve’s not comfortable at home.
God designed us to need quiet. Even Jesus went off by himself at times. In Psalm 46:10, God tells us what can happen in the stillness. We can know that he is God.
Both Jenna and Steve have remembering rooms in their houses. But they are different too.
In Jenna’s house, her parents remember all the good things that were done. That room is full of light and happy memories. And when they sit in the remembering room they feel refreshed and loved.
In Steve’s house, the remembering room is a dark room with many drawers. And in those drawers are all the hurts and disappointments saved throughout the years. When someone leaves this remembering room, they feel bad. They feel as if the hurt just happened because they were kept fresh in the drawers, tucked away. When a person only remembers the bad things that happen to them, joy gets squished out.
Remembering is important. In the Bible, when David was about to fight Goliath, (1 Samuel 17:34-37) David remembered God would be with him. This gave David courage. Every house should have a remembering room like this.
And when God forgave us, he also said he would forget the wrongs we have done. God doesn’t keep bad thoughts in his remembering room. In Hebrews 8:12, God thinks about all the things he loves about us. Not only are we to forget the wrongs against us, but God wants us to forgive each other as well. Read Ephesians 3:11-12. If we find it impossible to forgive others, we can ask God to help us. Forgiveness is God’s specialty.
No matter if our house is like Jenna’s or Steve’s, we can always be more loving. We can learn to be more forgiving and more tolerant of differences. And God can help us fill our remembering rooms with good memories, and get rid of the rest. In Philippians 4:8, God shows us what we should think about. And if we create a house like that, everyone will want to come in.
Please pray with me:
Lord, I pray you help us create the kinds of homes you want us to have. Show us how to love each other like you love us. Create in us the ability to enjoy the quiet. Help us to forgive just as you forgave us. And to remember good things instead of holding onto resentments. God, we know marriage was your idea, so we come to you wanting our marriages to be what you had in mind. We pray this in Jesus’ precious name, amen.
Anne Peterson is a regular contributor to Crosswalk. She is a poet, speaker and published author of fourteen books. Some of which are her memoir, Broken: A Story of Abuse and Survival, the children’s books: Emma’s Wish, The Crooked House, and Lulu’s Lunch. She has also authored the poetry books Droplets, and the series He Whispers. While Anne enjoys being a poet, speaker and published author, her favorite title is still ‘Grandma’ to her three grandchildren here, and one in heaven. To find out more about Anne you can visit her at www.annepeterson.com.
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: February 3, 2017