The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.
This morning I somehow managed to nearly simultaneously build and tear down my house! During lunch our girls were sitting at the table eating vegetable alphabet soup talking about the letters, telling each other their sounds and commenting on how good mama's soup was. They were also looking at their place mat maps of the world, universe and U.S. quizzing each other on where things were. This was a very proud building up my family and home kind of moment. Then I started to clean up, got out the mop and proceeded to pitch a little tizzy fit in my head because nothing looked clean! Yikes, how quickly I started tearing down what God has blessed us with. So this afternoon when I read the above verse in Proverbs how very convicted I was that my thoughts were wrong.
I thought I would blog a little about some of the ways that I have been trying to build my house in the area of my husband and children.
Pete is an extremely easy man to please so luckily building up my marriage is not a terribly difficult thing to do. The big thing I have found is that I need to ask questions and be willing to put into action what my husband says. I have tried to ask how he wants his children's days ordered, his children to look, his wife to look, his schedule kept, his money spent, his food prepared and his house managed. In each of these areas I had some idea of what he wanted but, I have always been a little surprised at what has been really important to him. Each man is different in their desires so I won't go into specifics here, but, I do believe we can really build up our homes and relationships with our husbands if we are willing to follow his order and desire for things.
There are also little things I have done to try and honor my husband as the head of our family. I try and serve him first at all meals and wait for him to lead us in prayer. When we go out I try not to have expectations of him gathering or packing things as he does not always know where I keep things. I try and anticipate his next need and have things prepared for him. If he is working outside in the hot weather and I notice he hasn't come in for water I will try and take him a drink. I try and look for little things that he may want done, say stopping to make a deposit at the bank or filing papers. Again all of our husbands are different in what they like done but we can really bless them by being perceptive and attentive to what they may want done. I have a friend who knows that her husband really likes things to smell nice so she will often light a scented candle before he is due home from work. Another friend of mine has told me how she knows her husband likes a clean kitchen, so she will try and clean it up before he's due home. My husband really likes it when I run all my errands at one time, so I try and be on top of things and run multiple errands at once. There are so many little ways we can build up our husbands and homes by recognizing and doing what our husbands prefer.
I also wanted to add some ways that we practice building up our girls. We try and take time for them individually by taking them on dates. Each of them enjoys different things so we will try and take time aside to do what they enjoy. This does not happen often, but, that makes the time even more sweet as it is such a rare occurrence. I also try and make waking up in the morning a special time. I love to let the girls know I have missed them while they have been sleeping and give them some cuddles before we are off and running full speed into our day. When the children have an idea they want to try I try and let them with in reason. One of our girls has been wanting to try more baking and sewing in her spare time. If possible I allow her to do what she can and help, it always ends up being a great time of bonding for us. Some other things we like to do are read chapter books together, bake, look at the National Geographic and talk about the pictures, go on nature walks/hunts, and play games.
There are many, many things we can do to contribute to the growth and keeping of our families and homes. I pray that our girls and my husband will find our home so comfortable and so full of love that it is naturally where they always want to be. The only way we can make that happen is by investing our time and energy into our homes. I have a lot of growing to do in this area. I often think I need to invest my time in maintaining my house, but, that does not offer nearly the reward as investing my time in building it. When I think about what I want my children to remember it is not a mom who was frantically trying to keep her house perfect, but, a mom who was so invested in living for the Lord and her family that they could clearly see it in what I did each day and in how I showed them I loved them.