Our Home, Haven {Home, Part 3}

{Home is the starting place for lived-out-love, a place where the needs of the whole person are cared for.  This post explores emotional needs.}

I’ve named our home Haven.  It’s a safe place we return to from daily life to find rest and mutual care.  It’s a haven where we can be authentic with our real selves and emotions.  We can make choices to create a trusting and safe environment in our homes.

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Here are some ways we can be emotionally healthy and safe for other people to be authentic:

Listen.  “Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak …” (James 1:19).  Listening gives us a chance to gain perspective and to consider the other before responding.  While we listen, we try to understand.  Then we respond with questions in order to be sure we understand correctly.  We avoid fixing, giving advice, or changing the topic.  These responses are so easy to do, but they prevent us from hearing the other person.  Listening shows respect for the other person, even if we disagree.

Show empathy.  The building blocks of empathy are understanding and naming emotions.  We start with our own, then expand this to understand other people’s emotions (realizing they are both similar and different from our own).  With empathy, we imagine what it is like to be the other person.  We feel what they feel, or at least attempt to.  We can respond with questions or comments that allow them to feel understood or supported.  This allows us to “care for one another” (1 Cor. 12:25) and “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who who weep” (Romans 12:15).

Make constructive choices We have power over what we do with our emotions.  Constructive choices help me process my emotions and move toward positive outcomes.  We can decide to create healthy boundaries, forgive, speak and act with love, build trust, and manage stress.  I may be authentically angered by the actions of my husband, but I can also love him by considering the best time to talk about it and what words to use to present my concerns.   When I feel strong emotions, some constructive things I do include:  write in my journal, read a Psalm, do yoga, and wait to talk until my emotions aren’t so raw and agitating.  When others see that we take responsibility for our emotions and make positive choices to present them in a healthy way, it builds trust.

Apologize!  We won’t be perfect, so humble apologies need to be a normal part of life.  Avoiding and hiding when we make a mistake or commit a sin is a destructive choice that breaks trust.   Forgiveness heals us and protects relationships between imperfect people!  Our goal is to “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph. 4:32).

As a mom … I invite my daughters into mutual relationship.  I aim to be a “real person” with them.  As they grow older, I am increasingly open with them about my emotions, stresses, and needs.  I model being authentic, and am intentional to listen and express understanding so they can be authentic with me.  I am mentoring them in listening, empathy, making constructive choices, and apologizing.

Two excellent books related to emotional healthiness written by Christian counselors include:  Changes that Heal by Dr. Henry Cloud and Are My Kids On Track? by Goff, Thomas, and Trevathan.

Our hearts are the wellspring of our emotions!  From a right heart and wise choices, we can be trustworthy and safe people.  This creates an environment in our homes that grows relationships characterized by authenticity, self-control, and love.

Guard your heart above all else,
    for it determines the course of your life.

~ Proverbs 4:23

 

How can you be a safe person for others to be authentic with?

What are five constructive things you can do when you’re working through emotions?

 

One thought on “Our Home, Haven {Home, Part 3}

  1. Pingback: Our Closest Relationships {Home, Part 4} | Live a Life of Love

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