We’re ten days into February and I’m ready to declare it the “winteriest” of the winter months, at least for 2021! I’m actually writing this post on Monday, which has been mostly sunny and warmer, but I see more gray skies and rain ahead in our weather forecast.
These cold, wet days naturally lead to lots of time inside at home. What comes to your mind when you think of that word – home? Is it a particular house you lived in growing up? Does it bring to the surface emotions that make you feel safe and secure – or the opposite? Are there certain people you always associate with that word?
No matter what your living situation, most of us live in a home of some sort. It could be a camper, an apartment, or a single family house. Your home could contain just one person, include a roommate, or be multi-generational.
Regardless of our home’s physical characteristics or the makeup of people, we all want our home to be a place we want to be. Somewhere that’s comfortable, welcoming, and peaceful.
Part of what creates that feeling is being surrounded by things we enjoy. For my family, that means lots of books, some pictures on the walls, and photos of family and places we’ve visited. But if filling the rooms with stuff made for a happy home, we could all create one fairly easily.
But a happy home is so much more than that. I’m sure we could come up with a long list of ingredients for a happy home, but here are some I think are important.
1. Love for God
This is the basis for a truly happy home. Can unsaved people have a happy home at times? I think so. But if our home is going to have an overall sense of peace and joy, even when times are tough, our faith will be our home’s foundation.
2. Love for each other
This doesn’t mean kids won’t fight or that husbands and wives won’t have disagreements. But deep down, we all know we’re for each other. We may not like each other all the time, but love is always present. Simply put, we can’t be selfish and expect our home to be happy.
Family members need to respect each other’s time, possessions, and differences. This means we have some ground rules like you can’t borrow your sister’s things without asking. And when we disagree, we don’t yell at each other. We respect the other person enough to talk it through – even if we need some time to cool down first.
4. Shared interests
For us this is Hallmark mystery movies and card games and skillet chocolate chip cookies with vanilla ice cream 🙂 It can also be a favorite sports team you follow or a book author you all like to read or a hobby you do together.
5. Open communication and clear expectations
Make honesty non-negotiable. Talk a little and listen a lot. And those expectations in your head that you never communicate to your family – you shouldn’t be upset when they’re not met.
As a wife and mom, I’m learning that a happy home starts with me and my attitude. No matter how fluffy the pillows or how plush the carpet, if I’m grumpy or “out of sorts,” our home will not be pleasant for anyone.
Seeing my family members as people I can serve for Jesus makes a huge difference. The tasks that I do – from folding laundry to scrubbing the shower to cooking supper – are not just acts of service for my family, but beyond that, they’re done for the Lord.
As Colossians 3:17 reminds me, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.” This doesn’t just apply to my Bible study time or the ministry I serve in at church. “Whatsoever ye do” covers packing my husband’s lunch, vacuuming crumbs off the floor, or washing the dishes.
Let’s be real – no home is totally happy 100% of the time. But there can be an ongoing undercurrent of contentment and satisfaction. With God’s help, my attitude can be one of service and selflessness, and our home can be a place of peace and happiness for my family.
Home interprets heaven. Home is heaven for beginners. ~Charles Henry Parkhurst
What other ingredients do you think it takes to make a happy home?