We owe our children – the most vulnerable citizens in any society – a life free from violence and fear. – Nelson Mandela
I grew up in a home with a lot of yelling. Things were constantly tense and my body was constantly feeling the consequences of the environment in which I was living. Inside I dealt with migraine headaches and stomach issues because on the outside I was supposed to be putting on a smile that everything was fine. I was constantly walking on eggshells. I lived in fear. Fear of violence. I could not wait to leave home to get away from that.
But, unfortunately, I carried this same smile and that same “eggshells” walk into my marriage. Rage ruled. If something happened outside of the home, it was brought home and everyone was supposed to be angry and upset as well. The empathetic part of me was unable to hide how I was emotionally feeling when our home was so loud and stressful. I was unable to continue to keep the peace.
Throw out the mocker, and fighting goes, too. Quarrels and insults will disappear. – Proverbs 22:10 NLT
Since my divorce, I have been working very hard to create a safe haven, called our home. Calmness needs to rule. And I wanted to do whatever it took to get our home to that place. This also helped our anxiety – with PTSD – to lessen.
These changes needed to be intentional. They still are. Loads of time in prayer for these needed changes. Plus, I have boundaries to protect us from the outside world.
Here are 6 healthy habits that we’ve learned that have helped us keep a peaceful home.
1.) We all start our day with at least 10 minutes of Bible reading and/or studying. I keep devotionals loaded on my phone through the YouVersion Bible App which is a time saver for those busy days. It’s usually the first thing I grab in the morning even if I go onto reading my bound Bible for writing the word. I really enjoy the wide variety of devotionals to pick from on that app as well as the encouragement from friends. These days, my son is loving his “The Action Bible“, that I bought him last year. Most mornings, that is where I find him, head stuck in his Bible. I can’t complain! But when we don’t make this time, we both notice our day just not going as great and the peace that much harder to obtain.
When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. – Galatians 5:19-21
2.) We mark out time almost every day to be together, beyond even mealtimes, just enjoying each other’s company. My son and I both are, time equals love kind of people. Because of this, we’ve decided that most nights, for an hour before bed, we will play a game, read together, or catch one of our favorite shows. If we’ve had a very busy day full of homeschool activities and then extra-curricular evening activities… that hour means a lot to my son. Filling your child’s love bucket helps to keep the peace. In turn, it fills mine too.
And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. – Deuteronomy 6:6-7
3.) I let go of being perfect. This doesn’t mean I’ve allowed sin to run rampant in our home. No! We just have freed ourselves to grow into who God designed us to be while acknowledging daily, our need for a Savior to help us grow and learn. I can be much more peaceful knowing God is working in our lives as long we allow Him to do the changing. As we learn more about God and know who He is… our hearts are softened to be more like Jesus. This leaves loads of room for peace in our hearts.
Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. – Philippians 2:2-3
4.) We have boundaries and respect each other’s boundaries – physically and emotionally. Boundaries tell people what I expect for my own safety, health, and healing. Every healthy relationship needs boundaries. Without them, there is no love or respect. I found that as I learned more about boundaries, I yelled less and less. It was a matter of explaining my boundaries and letting the consequences do the teaching. By respecting my own boundaries and that of my son’s boundaries, this helps keep a peaceful and happy home.
Similarly, a family splintered by feuding will fall apart. – Mark 3:25 (Jesus’ words.)
5.) We’ve learned that sin causes disharmony in the home. Sin (lying, deceit, etc.) causes a separation. A physical and emotional separation is a consequence of unrepentant sin in any relationship. Acknowledging (admitting) our sin and then repenting (stopping) that sin helps to keep the peace between us. I’ve often had to humbly come before God and my son, with my sin – even if that sin is not visible to others. When my son reminds me of an old sin, I have to keep calm and again apologize for my past actions – whether they had anything to do with him or not. Sin is sin, period. It hurts relationships. I expose my sin, even repeatedly if I need to because I know the Lord has covered it. I carry no shame. All hidden sin will be exposed by God – eventually.
Pride leads to conflict; those who take advice are wise. – Proverbs 13:10
6.) To keep strife to a minimum we allow for time-outs, postponing conversations, or ending them right there. When tempers are rising and any person feels that they can no longer keep self-control of their emotions (especially their rage), one or both of us call for a “time out” until we are calm again. This often happens when my son comes home from dealing with someone who does not live in this same kind of home, so he needs time to decompress and then calmly talk to me about it. I don’t take it personally if he doesn’t want to talk to me right away, or at all. He is free to tell me anything (honesty is never punished) or he’s free to keep things to himself (as long as it’s not sinful). We try very hard to keep strife out of our home.
A hot-tempered person starts fights; a cool-tempered person stops them. – Proverbs 15:18
Starting a quarrel is like opening a floodgate, so stop before a dispute breaks out. – Proverbs 17:14
Any other ideas to keep a peaceful home, that I missed?
Many days growing and learning in Him,
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