A happy home happens by deliberate design and intent, but not through indifference and carelessness. Without a commitment to building
a happy home, it will most likely be a place of discontentment and even discord—if it survives at all.
A dysfunctional home may occasionally have a happy time, but it is not the normal order of the day.
What makes a happy home? It is not just about fun and games. There should be some of that, of course; but primarily a happy home is a place where the members of the household have a sense of contentment, a definite purpose and an assurance of acceptance, and where they experience the joy of everyday living.
It can and should happen that way, but there are conditions for getting it. So where do we begin? How do we make our home a happy place?
1. A Solid Foundation
In our early years of ministry, my husband was pastor in Decaturville, TN. The Poppajohn family invited us to visit in their home. The house was on the Duck River and was built on a bluff of solid rock sixty to eighty feet deep.
It was beautifully situated and solidly built! Every room had natural, solid rock floors. In building this house, they had to drill down into the rock to secure it. Believe me, it had a solid foundation!
What is the solid foundation upon which we need to build our happy home? It is building on and living by biblical principles. I don’t think there is any other way to get there.
It is possible for a family to go to church, engage in Christian activities and yet not be built on the solid foundation of the Word of God because they are not living by it! You want a happy home? To be most successful we must know the Lord, believe His Word and live by biblical principles.
“Yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.”—Ps. 144:15.
“Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it.”— 127:1.
It is possible for us to make home a happy place even in a sin-sick world. The foundation for it is twofold—know the Lord and live by the Book!
2. Establish Order
For the home to be happy and harmonious and to function satisfactorily, there must be a properly established order of conduct. If nobody is in charge, who will give proper leadership and direction? There will be nobody following and nobody to follow. It will be chaotic!
Can you imagine a business without a president? It would not succeed and neither will a home without established order. The biblical principle is set forth in Ephesians 5. We are so familiar with this, but I hope we never weary of it.
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.”—Vs. 22.
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”—Vs. 25.
These verses set forth a deep commitment and loving relationship which result in unity and order. Then 6:1 says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.”
The order set forth so clearly is this: Husbands, love; wives, submit; children, obey. Col. 3:18–20 also sets forth these same instructions. A loving and submissive wife will not go against the husband’s authority and belittle him to others or to their children. Nor will a loving husband do harm to or show disdain for his wife. Instead, he will give himself for her well-being. When we live by this biblical principle, we are on the road to success in building a happy home.
The issue of submission is very basic and it is good for all we hold dear. Just when we think we have it under control, we will be challenged again. Outside of Christian circles this idea is often ignored and even ridiculed. Let me tell you about some things that submission does not mean. It does not mean that you should ever yield to abuse of any kind. You should not have to live a life of fear. It does not mean that you are inferior or a second-class citizen.
The husband’s responsibility is to love, not “lord over”; and ours is to respect and be his help mate. When we are married, we become one flesh and we should function in a loving and unified spirit.
3. Love Without Limits
Unselfish love will take us to great heights. This kind of love makes you happiest when you are giving and serving. It enables you truly to put your own preferences aside for the good of your spouse and family.
To gauge your own depth of love, ask yourself these questions: “Does my love have any limitations?” “How far will I go to do right and to do what is best for my family?”
Here is an account of deep love. I read about the story of Gladys Kidd who placed an ad in the San Francisco Examiner. It read, “My husband is innocent and I don’t want him to die for a crime he didn’t commit. I will therefore offer my services for ten years as a cook, maid or housekeeper to any leading attorney who will defend him and bring about his vindication.”
Vincent Hallinan, one of San Francisco’s best lawyers, saw the ad, felt pity and contacted Mrs. Kidd. He took the case and got this innocent man released from all charges. He then refused her offer of ten years of service and told her that he felt quite satisfied to have saved an innocent man from death.
Wow! That speaks volumes about her deep love.
Love is long-suffering and kind, not self-serving, proud or easily provoked. Love is tolerant, enduring and unfailing. You can check I Corinthians 13 for the whole list.
We must not let love fade away. It can do that if we become all business, success-driven or self-centered. We might start loving things too much or get too deeply into our hobbies. Some people even let their devotion to their children come between them and their spouse. That should never happen.
Love can decline if we start focusing on the negative things about our spouse. “You mean to say that my husband has faults?” Yes, no doubt he does; so does mine. We wives have faults too. After all, we are human beings! Although none of us is perfect, I want to focus on the positives and deal with negatives only when necessary.
We’ll stop here for this time.
Be sure to read Part Two in the December 13 issue of the Sword of the Lord. - Heart to Heart