MAKING YOUR HOUSE A HOME
By Richard (Dick) Innes
One of my life’s dreams, like that of most people, was to own my own home. My goal, however, was to build it myself. From early childhood, I loved to make things. In earlier years I worked as a builder, so my goal was realistic. Even though it took several years to complete, building my own home was an exciting project.
Every part of that home had my heart in it. Even the bricks in the fireplace I handpicked from the special kiln in which they were baked. Every tree and shrub was tended with great care to enhance our dwelling with nature’s own beauty. I spent a long time planning that home as I intended to live in it for life.
However, one thing I learned after moving into my dream home was that a house can never bring health or happiness, nor can it make a home. Only people can do that.
Today’s houses may be the most advanced ever, but our homes and families are breaking down at a greater rate than ever before.
Part of the reason for this breakdown is that for centuries men grew up accepting the role of breadwinner while women were expected to become wives, mothers, and homemakers. But that has all changed, Today’s women, especially those in their twenties and thirties, are the best trained and educated ever. Two out of three are working outside the home. Many are taking positions of leadership in the community, business, and professional world.
One effect of this radical change, and perhaps central to the increased breakdown of the family, is the confusion of roles of both men and women. Plus, there are no role models to follow. The end result is that those under thirty are four times more likely to be divorced than were their parents. In the not too distant future many more heads of households will be either divorced, single or widowed due to the aging population
“Today’s women in their twenties
and thirties are the best
trained and educated ever.”
The family is at the very heart of our society. It is the foundation upon which the personality, self-concept, sexual identity, and maturity of every child is built and developed. Its value is critical to the health and strength of the nation. When its foundation crumbles, eventually the nation will.
As former President Ronald Reagan once said, “The family is the oldest and most reliable unit in society. It is divinely created and sustained. It is the only institution in all of human experience capable of producing responsible citizens.”
To save and strengthen the home and family, we need to go back to the principles upon which it was founded. As it was instituted by God, the fundamental principles are found in his Word, the Bible.
Equality of the sexes. In God’s order it is important to realize that while both sexes are different (thank God for his creative touch), both are equal. Neither is better than the other. Both have roles of equal importance. In the beginning, God said that a man is to “leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”1 One flesh” implies equality. The Apostle Paul speaks of male and female interdependence and equality,2 and the Apostle Peter describes men and women as “joint-heirs of the grace of life.”3
The role of parents. One of the major roles of both parents in God’s plan is that they not only provide their family’s physical needs but also discipline and train their children in every area of life–physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.4
The role of the man. According to the Bible, the head of every man is Christ and the head of the woman is the man.5 Because this is often a misunderstood and touchy point, what does it mean for the man to be the head?
First, the man is only head under God to whom he is directly responsible for the well-being of his family. Next, he is to be, not a controlling or domineering person, but perhaps more than anything else, the emotional and spiritual leader—the one upon whom the wife and children can depend. He needs to be emotionally present and spiritually involved in the life of his family. He is to model what it means to be a true man of God. This is one of the greatest needs in today’s homes.
A father’s involvement is critical because he also has a major role in shaping his children’s self-concept and sexual identity. While a daughter identifies with her mother as a woman, it is the father’s love, approval, and acceptance of her that confirms her womanhood and femininity. The same principle applies to sons. If the father fails to fulfill this God-given role, the self-concept and sexual identity of both girls and boys are damaged.
As a husband, the man is to love his wife as Christ loved the church.6 This means he is to give his life for her. That’s what it means to be head of the home.
“A father plays a major role in
shaping his children’s self-
concept and sexual identity.”
The role of the woman. As wife and mother, the woman also has a vital role to play in the making of a home and in helping to meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the children. As Solomon stated, it takes a wise woman to build a home.7 Paul wrote to Titus to instruct the older women “to train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands.”8
Does this mean that women shouldn’t work outside the home? I don’t believe so. In Biblical times women didn’t work outside the home and were to be productive and not become busy-bodies in other people’s affairs. Even a casual reading of Proverbs 31 will show that God’s design for a woman is to be industrious, creative and fulfilled. The guiding principle for whether either parent works outside the home is whether or not the children’s needs are being met. Whether the woman works outside the home or not, she (as well as her husband) is to care for her family, help in the training of her children, and to give moral and emotional support and love to her husband.
The role of children. While parents are responsible for the provision for and development of their children, and fathers are not to provoke their children to anger, the responsibility of children is to “obey their parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.”9
No matter what a child’s background is, once he becomes an adult, he is totally responsible for his life. When parents teach children personal responsibility, both are helped. While they can never give their children too much unconditional love, parents can give them too many things and do too much for them. Teaching children to make their own decisions and do things for themselves trains them to become decisive, self-reliable, responsible and interdependent adults.
In a capsule, this is God’s plan for the home. When we follow his order, our homes have a much greater chance of success. When we go against his plan, we hurt ourselves and our children and weaken our nation. We simply cannot improve on God’s plan. The wisest thing to do is to get in on it.
1. Genesis 2:24, NIV. 2. I Corinthians 11:11-12. 3. I Peter 3:7. 4. 1 Timothy 5:8 and Proverbs 22:6. 5. 1 Corinthians 11:13. 6. Ephesians 5:25. 7. Proverbs 14:1. 8. Titus 2:4-5. 9. Colossians 3:20-21.