Stop, look, & listen, there are ways we can encourage a culture of love in our households and grow lifelong relationships in all the small moments of everyday life.
Making the time to share memories and creating intimacy in a loving relationship is more important than any other task. Don't we all wish we had spent more time enjoying the ones we love? And less time worrying about things in life we'll quickly forget?
It's always been my goal to grow lifelong relationships in my home and create a culture of love not just for my children, but for myself as well. And help them learn to love people well. Today I want to talk about real tangible ways we can grow that love culture in our households starting right now.
Created to Love and Be Loved | Love Languages
Each of us is created by God to give love and to receive love. Loving acts and words of affection and affirmation are foundational to our health in every area of life -- physical, mental, emotional, spiritual."The Lifegiving Home" Chapter 2, page 61 - Sally Clarkson
February is the month of love. So it is extremely fitting that the second chapter in the book The Lifegiving Home Creating A Place of Belonging & Becoming by Sally & Sarah Clarkson is all about creating those habits of love culture in a home.
Becoming a mother was when I really deeply started to think about love. Something more than romantic love. That love that calls you to serve a person who can't even reciprocate at first. Unconditional, generous, intentional love is what I craved. How much more so would a child? Therefore it was my intention to love them loud.
If I crave that kind of love, then so do those I love. I suppose it goes back to the golden rule a little, too, right? I'm setting an example in my interpretation of love in my actions. Therefore, how am I portraying Jesus' love to those around me?
Love is the powerful energy that opens hearts to be able to hear, know, and understand the love of God, to embrace His truth and His ways. Love mysteriously heals, gives hope, builds faith, inspires heroism and personal sacrifice."The Lifegiving Home" Chapter 2, page 62 - Sally Clarkson
"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends" John 15:13
As we take the time to invest in those close relationships, we then learn in our commitment that people are more important than things. And as the saying goes, love people use stuff. Healthy close relationships are what bring us fulfillment and happiness in our lives.
So, perhaps that's why in motherhood I truly began to understand love. And to fully appreciate how investment and yield really work. The more you invest, the more you can gain from it. Not only from reciprocation, but from the growth that real love requires of you.
Creating A Culture of Love | Taking The Time to Share Life
Even the way we use our time will help others know that building a relationship requires a commitment of time and sacrifice. There is always a cost to building intimacy with others."The Lifegiving Home" Chapter 2, page 63 - Sally Clarkson
Some of us, me included, could happily fill our lives to the brim. Busy like bees buzzing to and fro from task to task forgetting that other people share our lives and space. Head down, we can easily become preoccupied with the least important things in our lives.
Time is precious and in short supply. So, how can we wisely invest it in things that are evergreen? What I mean to say is, a wise man invests in things that will continue to yield over time. If we as mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, or just friends, take the time to share our life and build that culture of love in our relationships we are subsequently changing the world around us. And the worlds of those we are loving well.
Love Indeed Is A Choice
I like to think of it like ripples in a pond. We are the means through which God "would have us extend His hands, His words, His redemption to our world, within the walls of our homes." And then beyond those walls.
Loss, pain, sacrifice, these are all things we risk in pursuit of real love. But that also shows us the depth of value we will receive. Because we will never learn a person or an item's true value in life if there is no chance of loss, pain, or sacrifice.
And in realizing that value we know it's worth the investment. It's worth the time. It's worth putting down whatever you're doing and giving your full attention and focus to it.
If you're enjoying this post, don't miss the first one in the series Rhythms, Routines and Rituals | The Framework of a Lifegiving Home.
A Whole Month to Celebrate Love | Valentine's Day
February is a month all about giving. As a child, you sometimes sat and created Valentine's to give to friends and loved ones in a small practice of love. It's these small tokens that can actually mean the most when you look back and remember. I actually have a memory box of tokens just like that.
I would fill a small bowl with Scriptures about love written on separate little pieces of paper. The kids took turns reading the verses throughout the month of February."The Lifegiving Home" Chapter 2, page 63 - Sally Clarkson
So, how then can we celebrate love with our little ones and begin a tradition of love this Valentine's Day? Small acts or gifts of kindness to incarnate the reality and thoughtfulness of the love of Christ.
You could even print out the Free PDF Scripture cards and use them as apart of your crafts or write little notes with words of affirmation on the back and give them to those you love. Simply click on the photo to start the download, my gift to you!
A Culture of Love In the Traditions We Keep
All of us create a home culture of some kind. The traditions we keep, the meals we make, the routines we practice, the values we espouse and hold..."The Lifegiving Home" Chapter 2, page 65 - Sally Clarkson
Traditions don't need to be fancy things, but gentle and quiet things. It's the strength of even small strings of grace that can mend hearts amidst arguments, quarrels, and the demands of selfish hearts. Growing strong relationships means learning lessons and having to ask forgiveness again and again.
Those repetitive traditions of listening, giving focus when it's asked, being attentive to their needs, and subsequently knowing them that weaves together that family culture. And creates that bond we all crave so much, to be known and loved for who we are.
The Heart of Good Manners | Standards of Behavior
...the true heart of good manners is treating people with respect and showing them honor through the ways we behave."The Lifegiving Home" Chapter 2, page 66 - Sally Clarkson
Honor is definitely a lost value in today's society. Even when I was an adolescent I wondered often why my generation seemingly gave little to no respect or honor to anyone. It felt unjust in a way and I often berated kids my own age for devaluing people. Most people probably look at manners as a set of "persnickety rules". At times it does feel as though nothing is sacred any longer.
Our society seems to see no value in the idea of humbling themselves. And if we never learn the value of respecting or honoring those we can see, how will we learn to honor God?
When we honor, respect, and esteem people we are giving them a value.
...practicing love and valuing others is a priority for passing on His messages and influence to others in our world."The Lifegiving Home" Chapter 2, page 66 - Sally Clarkson
She gives a few examples of manners she taught her children, I'm taking notes.
- Say please when you ask for something
- Make a habit of verbalizing gratitude
- Don't interrupt others when they are talking
- Greet other swith a smile
- Build a concept of yourself as a helper
- Be a person others can depend on, and develop integrity in your life
- Learn to be a peacemaker, not a contentious voice
I hope this has given you many ideas on how you can begin or continue to grow lifelong relationships and build that culture of love in your home. I will leave you with one more excellent quote (there are so many more left!). If you don't have the book The Lifegiving Home by Sally and Sarah Clarkson you really need it.
What matters is the focus -- giving these people personal attention, listening to their hearts, encouraging them with words."The Lifegiving Home" Chapter 2, Page 67 - Sally Clarkson
Thank you for stopping by!
PS. Don't forget to check out the other articles in this series, 5 Ways to Create a Culture of Love In Our Homes & Daily Affection Routines: Ways to Show Love to Family Every Day