There is a crisis in many homes. Many families are chaotic; many don’t survive. Outwardly they may appear to be doing well, but internally they are hemorrhaging. The pain, trauma, and sense of failure (to say nothing of the impact on children) are huge. Building a strong marriage and home is not for the faint-hearted!
The reasons why families fall apart are often complex and defy easy answers. Yet, without being simplistic I have discovered there are three key areas which will strengthen the foundation of our homes and marriages.
First, strong marriages and homes have spiritual foundations. King Solomon said: “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain” (Psalm 127:1). It is possible to have a home where there is a lot of money, where children get a good education, and are socially well-adjusted, but without a spiritual foundation the home may fall apart.
In too many homes the spiritual dimension is lacking or is pushed to the periphery of our lives rather than being foundational. This spiritual dimension will not just happen. There are many negative aspects of our culture which erode this spiritual foundation. Couples should intentionally decide to pray together as a family, and plan to worship as a family. Each day we should ask God to help and protect us.
Second, strong families love one another. We are all loved by God, and are to reflect that love to others. Loving relationships with others, particularly within our families, is what really matters in life. However successful we may be in terms of possessions, career, and achievements, our lives are ultimately empty and meaningless without these loving relationships. I have met many adult men who have told me that their father never told them he loved them! How tragic! Hug your children. Let them know how much you love them. One of the greatest gifts a father can give to his children is for them to see him loving their mother. The Bible says this love is patient and kind. It endures all things.
A third dimension of strong marriages is laughter! Healthy families like being together and having fun. Certainly there is a time to be serious in our worship of God and in dealing with the challenges of life, but having fun together strengthens our relationships within the family, and draws us together. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Learn to laugh at yourself and with other family members. Family vacations, trips, activities, and games, are very important in relieving the stresses and strains of life. A home where there is a lot of laughter is usually a home which is healthy, vibrant, and stable.
There are no perfect marriages, and no perfect homes. But worship, love, and laughter build a powerful foundation which will weather most storms.
Originally published in South Charlotte Weekly.