Our Closest Relationships {Home, Part 4}

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

Our homes are like classrooms for learning to love well, in the context of our closest relationships. Our families of origin play a significant role in shaping how we relate with people. As we go through life, we continue to learn and grow as well!  We can thoughtfully learn from our mistakes, from other people, and from helpful books.  We have the ability to make choices so we continue to grow.  If we have children at home, this is where they learn social skills and can grow a heart of love toward others that is natural to them.

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We can grow relationships with those in our home with …

  • Having fun together. It takes intentionality to create time for shared experiences as a family, or those we live with.  These moments playing a game, going on a walk in the neighborhood, or even snuggling up and watching a movie create space for shared experiences and stronger relationships.  What do you enjoy doing together? 
  • Loving interactions. Thinking back on last week’s post, emotional healthiness starts with awareness and healthy choices with our own emotions.  It also includes understanding other people’s emotions and empathy.  These are the first two steps.  The third step combines both of those so we can manage our relationships well.  Home is the perfect place to begin practicing this!  The book Emotional Intelligence 2.0 provides helpful perspective and practice for growing in these emotional and relational skills (and it comes with an online assessment to help us be aware of how we’re doing with this!).   
  • Touchpoints for communicating. It takes time to connect and communicate.  It’s helpful to create rhythms in our day when we know we’ll have a chance to talk.  I’m home when the girls get home after school, so I’m available to hear about their days.  Aubrey overflows with reports on her day, and I’m ready to listen.  Ellie might need some quiet space, so I’m flexible and pay attention when she has something to say!  Shared dinners are a perfect time to come together as a whole family to share our days.  Bedtime is our best time to connect with them, as Richard and I tuck the girls in.  It’s often a time to laugh together or for the girls to share vulnerable parts of their hearts.  As Richard and I head to bed, we have a chance to privately share about our days.  How can you create spaces in your days for meaningful conversation? 
  • Respect as an individual. We are each valuable individuals who are worthy of respect.  We differ in style, personality, love languages, strengths, weaknesses, and all sorts of preferences!  Being an individual means we have choice to say yes and no (for example, I won’t force my girls to give someone a hug).  We share life and support each other, while remembering we each have our own emotions, choices, and responsibilities.  This allows us to give love freely, maintain boundaries, and share our selves in authentic, trusting relationship.  Are you comfortable being yourself, and allowing others to be themselves?  How can we balance supporting each other with individual responsibility? 
  • Loving touch. Touch is an essential way we show availability, care, and support.  A hand on someone’s shoulder or a hug communicate so much without words.  Touch expresses intimacy; with respect and emotional healthiness we are safe sharing our personal space.  I’ve heard that children need about five hugs a day!  How can you be aware and intentional to relate lovingly with touch?

Out of loving and healthy relating within a household, we can share authentic Jesus-love with those who come into our home, or whom we interact with in our communities as we go through our days.  We’ll explore this in next week’s post!

“… walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”  ~Ephesians 4:1-3 (ESV)

 

What section above connects most with you?  What growth step can you take?

2 thoughts on “Our Closest Relationships {Home, Part 4}

  1. Annie McKittrick Crary

    Kathryn,

    I found your posts on home very true and very encouraging. I had learned most of the concepts and techniques when I was rearing my children. Your posts refreshed my memory! Now I can apply that information, concepts, and techniques to interacting with my grandchildren. Thank you for posting!

    Annie

    Like

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