4 keys to bringing more joy to your home

I don’t quite remember where I heard this, but it has stuck with me even though I heard it 20 years ago.  Make it your aim to fill your house with so much love and joy that the laughter of your family bounces off the walls!  Wow!  Don’t we all want that?  I know I do.

So how do we get there?  I believe the Bible reveals several keys to bringing joy and laughter into our homes.  First, choose an attitude of hope instead of dwelling on a big, hairy list of all the things that are wrong in your life!  Proverbs 10:28 says “The hope of the righteous brings joy“.    Second, eliminate some things from your schedule if you are becoming grumpy due to exhaustion and stress.  Isaiah 30:15 says “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.”   And third, have a sense of humor!  Proverbs 17:22 says “A cheerful heart is good medicine“. 

Oh, and one more thing.  If you are holding bitterness and resentment against your spouse, deal with that.  If it is the result of something that happened a long time ago, you need to let it go!!  If it’s the result of an ongoing pattern of sin against you, then you will need to respectfully confront your husband.  Ongoing resentment will suck all the laughter and joy out of your home.

One of the best things for your kids

If you love your children, one of the MOST important things you can do for them is to keep your marriage healthy and intact!  Not to scare you, but the research regarding children from divorced families is alarming.  Perhaps this is one reason the Bible says in Malachi 2:16, “For the Lord God of Israel says that He hates divorce”.  God knows the devastating impact of divorce on children’s lives.

Research by Focus on the Family has found that teens from divorced homes are much more likely to engage in drug and alcohol use, as well as sexual intercourse than are those from intact families.  Also, kids whose parents divorce are substantially more likely to be incarcerated for committing a crime as a juvenile.  Plus, research from the Heritage Foundation found that children of divorced parents perform more poorly at school and have higher drop-out rates.

Yes, God can heal a child’s heart following a divorce, but the scars will remain.  So, work hard to keep your marriage healthy and strong.  Pray every day for your husband and pray daily for marriage guidance from the Lord.  See a counselor if you guys are fighting a lot or if you are growing increasingly resentful.  Don’t let your heart grow hard.  Fight for your marriage.  Your kids will thank you!

Gaining peace in your household

You know the saying “If mom’s not happy, nobody’s happy”?  It’s so true!  So if you’ve noticed your kids have been acting up a lot and/or your husband is grouchy, one possible reason is because YOU are not peaceful.  Your mood and your stress are contagious.

Ask God to reveal to you what things may be causing a foul mood or extra stress in your life, and then ask Him to show you if there are things you can do to improve the situation.  Is there something stressful in your life that you should eliminate?  Do you need to ask God to help you forgive someone instead of holding onto bitterness and resentment?  Do you need to spend less time watching the news or scrolling through social media?

Do whatever it takes to regain a peaceful and gentle spirit.  God instructs wives to have such a demeanor in 1 Peter 3:3-4 where He says, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.  Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”  Let’s become beautiful to our husbands and children by cultivating that gentle and quiet spirit.  You may have to make some changes in your schedule, but it will be worth it!

Creating a strong bond

One way to bond with your husband (and your children) is to share fun, wacky, or unique times together.  When we laugh together, we bond.  When we share a silly or wacky moment together with others, then we bond.  When we share a unique adventure or event, we bond.  Sharing those fun moments brings a smile to our face….and that smile is very healing for relationships!  In fact, the Bible says in Proverbs 17:22 “A cheerful heart is good medicine.”

To obtain this good “medicine” for your marriage and your family, you need to be intentional.  Get out your calendar and make a note at least every other month to plan a special, wacky, or unique event!  Let me give you some examples of things our family has done together. 

We have all dressed up in our PJs and gone to Dairy Queen for ice cream.  We have hosted costume theme parties where the entire family gets dressed up and comes together for dinner.  We have had dinner with a “lights out” theme, where we could use no appliances for cooking and we had to eat by candlelight.  We did a caveman dinner where all the food had to be eaten without utensils, even pork ‘n beans!!  Be creative.  Be silly.  Laugh.  You will bond and create warm memories.

— or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO BELOW

Your husband could help you in this area

I tend to constantly pick at a dysfunctional relationship in my life.  It drives me a little crazy that I am estranged from some relatives.  I keep on feeling like I need to “fix it”.  This has been going on for years!  And I think Satan has my number on this.  Just when I think I’ve sorted through my responsibility in the situation and come to the conclusion that I’ve done everything I should, Satan whispers into my ear once again “this is your fault”…”you aren’t handling this correctly as a Christian”…blah, blah, blah.  And the cycle repeats itself every few months…for years!

I was feeling this way again just this week, and I rehashed that fractured relationship once again with my husband.  Bless his heart!  I’m so thankful that he can actually be patient with me as I talk through that situation over and over again every few months.  Anyway, he quickly reminded me that I have done everything I can.  He helped me to see the situation objectively.  Where I was consumed with emotions and doubt, he could see more clearly.  As Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.  For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!”

Sometimes, you and I really do need our husband’s counsel.  Often, they are less emotional than we are.  Many times, they can see the situation much more objectively and correctly assess how it should be handled.  Plus, our husbands love it when we come to them for advice, because it signifies that we actually respect their opinion.  Is it time to seek your husband’s counsel on a situation in your life?  Two are often better than one!

How to reduce anxiety in your family

Who would have thunk it?  (Yes, I know thunk is not a word).  Anyway, I discovered something absolutely fascinating several years ago, and it was confirmed by a young wife at Squadron of Sisters during a subsequent meeting.  Husbands can become very stressed, anxious and uneasy when their home is a mess!  I had read surveys about this before, but it was really underscored by what a wife shared with our group.

She said her husband started to have pretty severe anxiety problems.  She didn’t understand why. He had a good job. She had a good job.  Their relationship was going well.  So what could be the problem?  Well, she attended an SOS meeting where we shared that men really desire a tidy household.  So, she went home and created a chore chart with stickers (yes, like parents use with their kids!).  She didn’t do all the chores herself.  She simply took charge of creating a plan to make sure the house could become tidy and clean.

The result?  Within a very short time, her husband’s anxiety completely disappeared!  Wow!  I guess that Proverbs 31 wife really has it figured out.  In verse 27, the Bible describes her as a woman who “looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”  Coming up with a plan to keep your house tidy and clean can really boost your man’s sanity!  P.S. You might find that your anxiety drops a notch or two as well!

Don’t fall into this subtle trap!

I’m rather slow to learn some lessons in life and as a wife.  One of the things I wish I had realized earlier is that it is entirely too easy for a mom to get so focused on nurturing her children that she subconsciously pushes her husband aside.  In fact, in my first marriage, I remember thinking to myself…”My husband is an adult so he can take care of himself.  It’s my kids who really need my attention.”  Not good thinking!

Of course, moms need to take care of their children’s needs and we do need to spend time nurturing and disciplining them.  However, our children can become idols in our life. When our world revolves around our kids’ successes and failures…and on their activities and their schedule…well then we’ve made our children into idols.  When anyone or anything besides God becomes our focus in life, then it has become our idol and our god.  One of the big 10 commandments addresses this!  Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before me.”

 One of the casualties of this idolizing of our kids is our husbands.  The bizarre thing is that the very children we were determined to protect end up severely wounded as mom and dad become distant, begin to argue, and often end up divorcing each other.  Don’t let this happen to you.  Be intentional about spending quality time with both your husband and your children.  Even more important than that, spend quality time with God.  He must truly be your number one focus in life!

Helping your husband become the spiritual leader

Many women lament the fact that their husbands won’t pray with them and their husbands aren’t really the spiritual leader….but, here’s something I’ve observed over the years that may shed some light on your predicament.  If you want your husband to become the spiritual leader of your family, you have to stop being the leader yourself!  Sometimes women, including myself, can be so eager to bring spiritual disciplines into our family life that we leave no gap for our husbands to fill.  Perhaps this is why God repeatedly instructs wives to be submissive!  Titus 2:5 tells women to be “self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands”. 

In other words, instead of you jumping in and praying for the kids when they get tucked into bed at night, you could ask your husband for his help with that.  If you would like the Bible to be read aloud after dinner, tell your husband you love the sound of his voice when he reads and ask him if he would read the Bible.  After he has read the Bible passage, ask him what he thinks God is saying…and then listen attentively to his answer.  When you’re not feeling well, you could tell him it would mean the world to you if he were to just lay a hand on your shoulder and say a simple prayer.  Even a one-sentence prayer is fine.  And when he does any of these things, be encouraging and thankful!  Build him up.

When a woman takes over any area of leadership, many men will simply back off.  So, if you want your husband to become the spiritual leader of your home, you need to allow there to be a bit of a void in that area. Then ask him for his help.  🙂

— or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO HERE

How to stop causing collateral damage in your family

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I can get pretty grumpy when events become challenging in my day.  When the internet goes down while I’m trying to work on my computer, I get super frustrated.  When I accidentally drop a bunch of flour on the floor while baking, I get grouchy.   When I get an unanticipated bill in the mail, I get really irritated.  Unfortunately, if my husband happens to walk by at that particular moment, I inflict collateral damage!  Collateral damage is a military term where civilians, who were minding their own business, are injured unintentionally by a military strike.  Hmmm.  Yes, my husband is sometimes that innocent civilian who is injured by the bullets coming from my mouth and the darts shooting from my eyes during moments of irritability!

How can you and I prevent this collateral damage?  Here are two possible remedies:

1)  Pause before you react!  Before a word comes out of your mouth, pause.  During this pause, remember who your enemy is.  Your enemy is NOT your husband…or your children.  Your enemy is Satan and he is TRYING to provoke you!  1 Peter 5:8-9 says “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith…”

2)  Claim two specific Bible promises out loud and pray that God would fulfill those promises for you in this moment…Isaiah 54:17 “No weapon forged against me will prevail” and Romans 8:28 “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose“.

4 insights to bring more laughter into your home

I don’t quite remember where I heard this, but it has stuck with me even though I heard it 20 years ago.  Make it your aim to fill your house with so much love and joy that the laughter of your family bounces off the walls!  Wow!  Don’t we all want that?  I know I do.

So how do we get there?  I believe the Bible reveals several keys to bringing joy and laughter into our homes.  First, choose an attitude of hope instead of dwelling on a big, hairy list of all the things that are wrong in your life!  Proverbs 10:28 says “The hope of the righteous brings joy“.    Second, eliminate some things from your schedule if you are becoming grumpy due to exhaustion and stress.  Isaiah 30:15 says “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.”   And third, have a sense of humor!  Proverbs 17:22 says “A cheerful heart is good medicine“.

Oh, and one more thing.  If you are holding bitterness and resentment against your spouse, deal with that.  If it is the result of something that happened a long time ago, you need to let it go!!  If it’s the result of an ongoing pattern of sin against you, then you will need to respectfully confront your husband.  Ongoing resentment will suck all the laughter and joy out of your home.