by Neil Kennedy
We often hear of the repercussions of a home without a husband and father—the statistics can be haunting, the collateral damage is immeasurable. As the prophet Malachi warns us, the absence of a father brings with it a decree of utter destruction. The facts are indisputable, when a husband leaves the home the family suffers.
Jesus said, “If a household is divided against itself, that household can’t survive.” (Mark 3:25)
I have lived a very dramatic contrast—I was raised in a house of division, but when I became an adult, my wife, Kay and I built a home of peace. Our three children are now all married and building their own homes. We have the privilege of seeing them each navigate the challenges that life brings with faith and the perseverance that is required to secure their homes.
Recently, a friend asked, “Neil, what are the keys that you and Kay implemented in building your home?”
Here are five things a husband brings into the home:
No one can break into a strong man’s house and make off with his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. After that, he can ransack his house. —Jesus (Mark 3:27)
Jesus teaches that the thief comes only for the purpose to steal, kill, and to destroy. Your nemesis hates your home. He knows that before he can take your possessions he must first tie you up. He considers you a strong man. You’re the protector of the home. You bring to your home a security—a spiritual authority to protect your turf.
If satan can get you bound or remove you from being the gate of authority to your home, he has full access to ransack your home.
When I was a teenager, our home was robbed. Someone broke into the garage and stole all kinds of equipment, tools, and motorcycles. I had two bikes that I raced. They were both taken. If you’ve ever been robbed, you know the feeling that comes with it—a vulnerability and insecurity that makes you feel violated.
A vital attribute of being a husband is to bring security to the home.
Everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on bedrock. —Jesus (Matthew 7:26)
The husband brings foundational words, words you can build your life upon. Often times our children will roll their eyes and our wives may give us a humored grin at our mantras, maxims, and adages—but with repetition, these foundational principles become stabilizing to them.
However, let me encourage you to speak clearly and with conviction. If any of your words matter, than all of your words matter.
Zechariah was receiving very disturbing messages when speaking with an angel, so the Lord turned to the angel and spoke “kind and comforting words.” It is very revealing to see the character of God by reassuring the angel who was speaking with the prophet. Rather than speaking down to or dismissive to the angel, God speaks gentle and reassuring words to him.
In the same way, as husbands and fathers, our words should be kind and comforting, bringing stability to our family’s confidence.
The atmosphere that you allow in your home becomes the culture of your children.
Kay and I were very careful to maintain a home of peace. We would not allow strife into our home. The Bible says that where there is strife there is every form of evil. I truly believe that strife manifests the presence of evil.
It has become increasingly difficult to monitor the “voices” that are allowed to speak into our homes—the internet, smartphones, and television has invited influences that are not always in agreement with our belief systems. I am sure that internet filters and monitoring controls for these devices are helpful but if we do not protect the atmosphere of our homes, we will not see it become a culture for our children.
We don’t hear much about culture in the home but it’s very important. Conversation, books, politeness, and manners, may sound like archaic ideals but in reality these can and should become the attributes of our homes.
If you teach your children how to conduct themselves at home, they will have no problem behaving in public.
My wife purchased decorative letters at Hobby Lobby and hung them in the breakfast room. The huge letters spelled out L-A-U-G-H. It was a constant reminder that we should enjoy our home.
With all of the challenges that we’re facing as families, it’s a good reminder that laughter is good medicine. (Proverbs 17:22)
I realize you may be facing some real issues and stresses, but it may really help if you can lighten up a little. Especially around your wife and kids.
Be strong and be a man! —David (1 Kings 2:2)
Do not attempt to draw your strength from your wife and kids. Don’t whine and mumble about the burdens that you’re carrying. Don’t complain every time that your children need clothes or need something from school.
Go to God and draw your strength from Him, then turn and strengthen your family.
Don’t be weak and whiny. Don’t put the burden on them. They’re children.
In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered. — 1 Peter 3:7
Wow! Did you see that? The manner in which you treat your wife can close up the heavens for your prayers.
My wife and I have enjoyed a tremendous relationship. However, early in our marriage, I was upset about something that was happening (I actually can’t remember why). I’m ashamed to say that I attempted to get my way by sulking and pouting for a few days. After my morning prayer time, I walked into the kitchen when Kay looked at me and said, “You’re wasting your time praying while you’re treating me like this. God isn’t going to side with you on this matter.”
She was right.
I immediately asked her to forgive me and that I would not continue to sulk to get my way. I realized that my pouty ways were a childish and weak way to deal with my disappointments. From that day forward, I learned to get my strength from God and strengthen my family from my prayer time.
- Is your home secure? Do you have a security system? Do you need one? Are you conditioned to protect your home? Are you situationally aware to protect your family? Look for ways to add security to your home without developing a “bunker-mentality.”
- Do your words strengthen and encourage your family? Are your words flippant and demeaning? Monitor your words for a day and count how many times your speak down to a family member.
- What kind of television programs are entertaining you? Are you intrigued by murder mysteries? Are you entertained by inappropriate adult relationships? Are you watching too much television?
- When is that last time that you belly laughed with your family?
- Strengthen yourself with prayer.