So far in this series we have established the following:
- Building our homes takes intentionality and persistent work- but the reward far outweighs the cost.
- We must choose Whom we will serve. If it is the Lord, then we build our homes on the firm foundation of Christ and the gospel. Everything flows from this!
- Marriage is the next building block upon the firm foundation and sets the tone for the culture of the home. A culture of emotional safety is built by exhibiting an attitude of humble servanthood within the marriage.
Today we will continue to focus on marriage, highlighting three values needed to create a home culture of emotional safety and joy.
- Growth in the knowledge and love of God. We build our homes on Christ not just through a one time confession or choice but by continuously abiding in him through time in prayer and the word, and through regular corporate worship. As stated in a previous post, all these actions require discipline. However, when we value growing in the knowledge and love of God we are motivated to stay consistent in these actions. A cycle then emerges: the more consistent we are, the more we grow; the more we grow, the more we want to stay consistent.
To be clear, loving and glorifying God (by growing in knowledge and love of Him) is to be our number one priority in life, whether married or not. But when this is the top priority of both individuals in the marriage, the result will be an increase in the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22 tells us the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control- all things needed to develop a home culture of emotional safety. Of course, we will never possess these qualities in perfect measure, but as we grow in our sanctification, our marriages and families will be strengthened.
One more note on this topic: as parents, we cannot expect our children to value prayer, Bible study/reading, and corporate worship if we do not model this. The marriage sets the tone. As our kids age, they will be especially aware (and critical) if we do not live out what we preach to them. This goes not only for our time in prayer and the word, but in our obedience to it. I praise God that this is not dependent on our own strength! As we abide in Him, we will be changed and strengthened by His Spirit.
- Family: Marriage and Children. This may seem like an obvious observation, but I thought it was one worth noting. Creating a household of emotional safety and joy happens when those in the marriage value marriage and children. Whatever other careers, hobbies, and interests there may be between the husband and wife, valuing the marriage must be second only to God. When marriage is valued we strive to intentionally live out the ways God has commanded us to love and treat one another within this relationship (Ephesians 5:22-33). Ultimately, we will care for, honor, and cherish most that which we value most.
The same is true when we value our children and the great honor of parenting. In His grace God gives us children that they should be highly valued and cherished. As Psalm 127:3-5a days, “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.” It is our great privilege to love our children and raise them up in the ways of the Lord.
When both the husband and wife feel valued by one another there will be comfort and safety in the home. The same holds true when children feel valued by their parents. With the value of marriage and children present, a sense of acceptance and belonging is created- and this is felt by all. When all in the family know they are wanted and valued, emotional safety is increased.
- Fun. Last but not least is the value of fun. To be sure, marriage and parenting is serious business in that they are to be taken seriously! However, the institution of marriage not only exists to demonstrate the union between Christ and His Church, but to reflect the joy of this union. Christ delights in his bride! We then should delight in one another. Although there are differing interpretations of the Song of Solomon, it is quite clear from this portion of Scripture that the marital relationship is to be full of love and joy. It is this enjoyment of each other that sets the tone for joy within the family.
A home full of laughter and playfulness is a place where all (even guests and friends!) long to be. As Proverbs 17:22 says, “A joyful heart is good medicine.” While we maintain the attitude of humble servanthood in our marriages, let us also remember to value the enjoyment of one another. Our heavenly Father delights in us when we enjoy the good gifts He has given us- and our marriages and children are without question among the most precious of these.
I will close out this post with a few considerations: 1) Let us consider how we can continue to grow in our knowledge and love of God, both individually and within our marriages. If you haven’t already, consider making this a regular topic of conversation between you and your spouse. 2) Let’s also consider how we can communicate our love and appreciation for one another. By what means can we consistently communicate to our spouses and children that they are valued? 3) Lastly, let us be mindful to make ‘fun’ a priority. How can we enjoy our spouses and children today?