There are so many traits that a home needs to have in order to be healthy and godly. While not every trait is going to be perfect all the time, if a couple is growing and maturing in the necessary areas, their home will be better for it.
While this is not an exhaustive list, we present to you today the ABC’s of a healthy home.
A is for Acceptance. This does not mean you accept sin, since that is never acceptable. It means that you accept personality differences and quirks.
B is for Be careful what you say. Proverbs 15:1 reminds us that a “harsh word stirs up strife.” The children’s song, “O be careful little mouth what you say” is very good marriage advice!
C is for Commitment. Marriage does not need to be viewed as a contract, because contracts can be too easily broken. Marriage is a covenant, meant to be fulfilled with commitment no matter what the external circumstances might be.
D is for Discipline. It takes both self discipline and the discipline of Scripture to be all that we should be in our homes.
E is for Expect rain. While everything may seem like it is roses and unicorns (or Fudge Rounds and M&M’s) on the wedding day, there are going to be times when difficulties come. Don’t invite them, but expect them. Oh, and prepare for them.
F is for Forgiveness. Christians are commanded to be forgiving people, and that should not just be reserved for “church folk.” Our spouse deserves forgiveness. After all, we have been forgiven in order to forgive others.
G is for God is first. The picture of a triangle is a good one. When husband and wife are individually growing closer to the Lord–at the top of the triangle–they are automatically growing closer to each other.
H is for Hold up your spouse. Lift him or her up in your words, both when they are present and when they are not. Do not berate your spouse, even if he or she is not present.
I is for “I” becomes “we.” When you get married, your pronouns need to change. It is no longer about “I.” It is now about “we” and “us.”
J is for Jump-start your marriage. No matter how good you think your marriage might be, do something to make it better. Read a book (11 recommended titles here). Attend a marriage seminar. Read a marriage blog or article. Listen to a marriage podcast. Go to counseling, just as a “tune-up.” There is always room to grow.
K is for Kick out temptations. If there is something that is tempting you to think things about your spouse that are unhealthy, kick those unhealthy things out. If there are things (or people) who are tempting to be unfaithful, kick them out!
L is for Love unconditionally. Agape love is not just a feeling. It is something that is done with the other person’s best interest at heart. (Sounds a lot like “in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer…”)
M is for Manage your money and media. These two things can easily take over a marriage instead of being under control. Neither is bad in itself, but both must be managed, so they can too easily consume your time and energy.
N is for No negative criticism. There is a way to say negative things in a way that still brings encouragement to your spouse. Find it and use it.
O is for Openness. If it is in your mind or on your heart, it is “fair game” to speak about with your spouse.
P is for Prayer. Pray for your spouse, and pray with your spouse. A lot.
Q is for Quit complaining! If you are complaining about your spouse, you need to look in the mirror and ask, “Why did I marry this person?” You made the decision, so quit complaining!
R is for Respect. In words and actions, show the highest levels of respect you can for your spouse. (Husbands and wives need to read Ephesians 5:33 very carefully together.)
S is for Sacrifice. Jesus is our perfect Example, in that He gave Himself for the church. That is the standard, and it needs to shine forth every day in our homes.
T is for Tend your own garden. If you are feeling emotionally attracted to anyone other than your spouse, you need to take care of your own household. Tend your own garden. Put your mind back at home and put your efforts there first.
U is for Unity. “Whatever God has joined together, let not man separate.”
V is for Value. A virtuous wife’s value is “far above rubies” and her husband praises her (Proverbs 31:10, 28). Speak in words that show great value to your spouse.
W is for Watch your calendar. Put family things on your calendar first. Worship times, family devotionals, prayer times, dates with your spouse, and family vacations need to be a priority on the calendar before anything else.
X is for X-ray yourself. If your marriage is not what you might want, don’t just lob criticism at your spouse. Look at yourself and see where you need to improve.
Y is for Yearn for heaven together. Marriage is a wonderful way to help your spouse get to heaven. Long for that together.
Z is for Zealously love the Lord. He must come first, and He will bless your marriage if you put Him as the head of your house.
COMMENTS? Add your thoughts to the ABC’s of a healthy home in the comments! We’d love to hear from you.
Photo background credit: Robin Correa on Creative Commons