Building a Home
It happens all the time. Boy meets girl. They begin dating. They fall in love. They become engaged. They plan their wedding. They get married.
No doubt, some folks spend much more time planning their wedding than they spend in planning their marriage and their home. The wedding is a one-time celebration bonding two people in the most intimate relationship known to humanity. The marriage, however, was intended by God to endure for a lifetime. In our society, weddings are romanticized so that little girls grow up dreaming and planning for the day when they will be the beautiful Cinderella in the long flowing gown. Literally hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars are expended on some weddings, while the marriages sometimes do not last long enough to pay off the expenses incurred.
The successful home is the one built according to divine specifications. It merits far more effort and sacrifice than a wedding. The stability of the home rests on the understanding that marriage is God's idea, not man's, and God insists that the relationship He ordained is good! Couples who are determined to have happy, fulfilling marriages must recognize the significance of building their lives together according to the plan God has revealed.
Love: The Divine Adhesive
The apostle Paul described the cloak of Christ which ought to envelope the lives of all the saints (Colossians 3:12-15). "And above all things put on love, which is the bond of perfectness." Love is the quality which brings together all the other attributes into a single design.
In marriage, love is the glue that binds man and woman as one and causes them to stick together when other forces are acting to push them apart. The love which keeps a marriage intact is not limited to the mushy-gushy feeling which surges through the veins of a teenage boy and causes his cheeks to glow and his knees to tremble when that special girl asks him a question in algebra class. Nor is this the highprofiled eroticism which is being marketed to the masses under the guise of love. The love which sustains a marriage is a love learned from God which sinks its roots deep into the heart and changes both feelings and behavior.
When the Holy Spirit taught us about this kind of love, He did not spend much time explaining how this love feels. Instead, He meticulously delineated for us the behavior of love (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not boast, it is not proud. Love is not rude, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love does not fail." Husbands and wives must come to understand that God did not merely speak of how we ought to feel toward one another; the Lord directed us in our behavior toward one another.
Patience and Tolerance: Abdicating Selfishness
Spoiled children become selfish adults, and selfish people are poor partners in any kind of relationship. There is no way to share a house, a family, or a life together without a willingness to give. The Lord speaks directly to the point (Ephesians 5:22) as He instructs wives to "submit to your husbands as to the Lord," and immediately instructs husbands to "love your wives just as Christ loved the church, and gave Himself for it…"
Does your spouse have some warts and blemishes? You have some, too! Do you get tired of putting up with her imperfections? She tires of yours. Does he have some ways that are immensely annoying? So do you. Did you learn that he was not perfect? He has learned the same thing about you. Do you want your spouse to get over the pettiness and focus on the things that really matter? You need to model that behavior. Giving, giving and giving some more, is an essential element of building a home.
Vision and Friendship: Sharing Goals and Walking Together
The prophet asked long ago, "Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?" (Amos 3:3). Building a successful home necessitates unity in purpose. A person whose first allegiance is serving the Lord will often find himself at odds with another person whose first desire is making money, or having fun, or working. Blessed, indeed, is the man or woman who can look at his home and confidently affirm, "As for me and my house we will serve the Lord." Sharing common purpose in life provides an anchor which will steady the home during the storms. Dreams and visions must be shared and shared again. Friends are those who care, who eagerly give for the benefit of the other. One of the keys to building a happy home is nurturing your friendship with your spouse. Make the sacrifices necessary, but take time for the other. Do the little things, offer the gentle touch, and talk to the person with whom you are spending your life. The more intimately you know each other, the more fully you will understand each other and the stronger the bond will become which makes the two of you one.
Christians would do well to give ample time and attention to building the kind of home they want; the house can come later. The home will need an abundant supply of basic materials such as love, patience, tolerance, vision and friendship. Modeling a happy successful home is one of the greatest opportunities today for Christians to show the world the wisdom of God. A man and woman, serving the Lord, committed to one another, raising children with strong values, more in love with each other at the end of the life than ever before — well, it's the very kind of home millions of people only dream of.
— via College View Columns, Florence, Alabama