Our homes are supposed to be a place of refuge and comfort from outside forces, but sometimes it can seem like that takes a lot of effort. Helping to create a sense of unity and safety can help the atmosphere of your home be peaceful and loving instead of contentious – even with all the personalities in play at the same moment. Here are some ways you help make your house a home where all family members feel valued and important.
It is important family members feel secure in their pace in the family and committed to helping others as well. Many times people will adopt an “everyone for themselves” mentality and that can chip away at the foundation of a family. Family members should be committed and loyal to other members of the family in helping them become their best selves and supporting them in their lives. For us, that has meant conversations about understanding one another’s love languages and personalities.
We strive to be committed to supporting each member’s emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being. If we make this a top priority and goal for ourselves, other people will start to take the cues and adopt the behavior as well. Truthfully, while this prolonged season of social distancing has certain come with adjustments, it’s almost helped deepen our commitments to our family.
We also need to act with compassion in our homes. Greg and I believe if compassion starts in our home, it will overflow into our other social circles and even among strangers in our ordinary lives. I’ve certainly been guilty of being the worst version of myself toward the people closest to me, but that ultimately threatens to harm the most important relationships in our lives. Unkind words, angry outbursts, pettiness, and jealousy can all sow deep seeds of distrust and unhappiness in our homes. As a mom, I’ve had to grow in this area along with my kids. I’m thankful for the grace that abounds when we mess up and as well learn together.
Greg and I want to teach our kids to genuinely caring about the struggles, difficulties, and fears each of us face. Allowing space for their sadness, even when we may not understand it, and celebrating victories with them is equally important to create a compassionate environment.
We need to be able to communicate effectively with our family members to build a sense of unity and deepen our relationships. As parents, we take on the responsibility for this. One way Greg and I have improved our communication is by having a shared Google Calendar. Knowing what’s happening logistically in our day-to-day lives at work and home helps foster even more conversations to keep us on the same page. We need to be informed about the communication they have with others. You can go to this blog article to read more about doing that.
We also need to focus on the communication that is happening in our homes with each other. With different personalities and preferences, we each have our own communication styles too. Good communication requires active listening. Listening to understand instead of to respond, asking for clarification, and offering support are all important to help someone be heard. We need to put down defensiveness and really try to understand someone if there is a disagreement instead of focusing on being understood.
There will always be disagreements in any relationship, and family relationships are no exception. Healthy and unified families are always striving toward the best possible outcome for the family unit, and sometimes that will mean that individuals don’t get everything they were hoping to get. And usually that means making adjustments as seasons change, kids grow, and life happens.
Negotiation is healthy and should be encouraged. Considering the hopes and schedules of other family members will help them to feel loved and understood. When we compromise on some issues and take turns, we get what we want sometimes too and the family grows together. There needs to be a balance between striving to get what we want and supporting the other members of the family in their pursuits and desires.
A great way to support family unity is through the use of family time and traditions. Embracing yearly traditions or weekly family time will allow family members to get to know each other and to build a relationship that will benefit everyone involved.
We have different traditions for birthdays, holidays, and ordinary days. None of them are elaborate, but they all anchor us to our place in this family and in our larger community of friends. Again, the Google Calendar helps Greg and I communicate about plans we want to make sure happen and don’t get lost in the busyness of life with kids and responsibilities.
Game Nights are some of our family times, and we often rotate who chooses which game we play next. This helps everyone feel included and get a chance to pick their favorite game. While we play games, we learn about each other, compete in good fun, and make memories.
(Here are many of our favorite games, if you need some recommendations.)
We can do all kinds of things to create a sense of unity and peace in our homes, but ultimately Christ is the center anchor of all this. When all members of the family are focused on drawing closer to Christ and living out our beliefs rooted in faith, we will automatically draw closer to each other as well.
We haven’t been to church since March, but we’ve been having home church in our living room. While it’s been different and involved adjustments on everyone’s part, the time we set aside on Sunday mornings has helped us learn more about Christ and each other. We’ve gotten to share in something Greg and I value in a new way together and God’s been faithful to meet us when we gather on the couches together, often in our pajamas.