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September 19, 2021 | Doug Sauder
Watch our most recent mid-week message here.
Have you ever stopped to consider the tone of your home? You might ask me, “Reuben, what are talking about?” I am so glad you asked! When I say the tone of your home, I mean what is the current health status of your relationships within your own home? What are your habits, your goals to build those relationships, your tools to assess your relationships, and finally, your personal passion to be in relationship with those in your family?
If you are reading this, then you probably desire to have a great relationship with your spouse. But without environments like these, you may sometimes (like me) need fresh ideas to keep the fire hot! Ephesians 5:15 says that we should walk circumspectly, which simply means we should have a 360-degree view of our life. This helps us learn from our past, shed light on our future, and enable us to have a better chance of redeeming our time and honoring Christ with all that we are and have!
In addition to our date night challenges, we will publish blogs throughout the year that will be full of ideas to help maximize and develop the tone of your home. We will address topics like developing a family mission statement, setting family goals, receiving feedback, giving feedback, vacation planning, how to make your time count, and developing and assessing priorities.
The Ramsarans have a desire to create a haven-like home, and we realize that healthy habits are vital to achieving this goal. We also realize that our home is susceptible to feeling like the opposite of a haven, and we have the tendency to slip into poor habits just like any other family. At the start of every year, our family sits down together—sometimes one night, or over a series of a few nights—to give and receive feedback. This practice is rooted in a desire to live out the Scriptures, which give many references to this topic. One in particular is Proverbs 19:20 (ESV) which says, “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.”
My wife and I have done our best to truly live this out. Every day we offer constant feedback—we call this “couch time.” We give each other open access to come to one another with anything, any time. Priya and I will pray separately and then together to hear from God what He may want to say through us! He has already given spouses the gift of experience and history with each other, which makes them a very relevant source of wisdom for one another.
I will go ahead and state the obvious. . . All of this requires a lot of trust and grace. If you do not currently have a home where feedback is valued and where trust is a strength, then you will want to practice the steps I am about to share so that you can gain the most from the giving and sharing of these pearls of wisdom!
Whether you have children in the home or not, please consider all of what will be shared in the context of your own family. If you do have children, please begin this process with your spouse first. Give feedback privately without the children present so that your spouse does not feel disrespected.
First, we start by creating an environment that is conducive for this. Preparing each other is key. A week before, I tell everyone the time has come for everyone to come to the table with at least one specific positive encouragement and one constructive opportunity for development. Everyone is encouraged to edit their own thoughts before sharing to ensure that they weighed exactly what they will say. We give each person speaking the ability to complete their thoughts without being interrupted, and the person receiving gives it time to settle before responding. If at any point voices become elevated or the conversation becomes toxic, counter-constructive, or mean, we end the conversation and reconvene with apologies and acknowledgement of where things went wrong.
Based on introspection and each other’s feedback, we create personal lists of development for growth. Proverbs 1:5 (NIV) says, “Let the wise man listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.”
The tone of our home has grown as a result of God speaking through our mutual respect and trust in one another. I have watched God honor our home and increase the health of our haven as we trust feedback given—even kids to parents. I have watched my own ability to receive from my wife grow.
You should know that going through this is definitely a process that takes time, but the fruit . . . well, it’s amazing! I have grown to realize that my wife is my greatest cheerleader and her words, although they may sting at times, are truly for my benefit! Also, my kids can be prophets and I should never discount their ability to speak life and truth into each other and myself.
Our prayer for you is that your home would be full of health and that you would experience the grace and peace of God every day, in the good times and in the bad times. We pray that your home would be a place where you can give and receive, speak and listen, and in all of life circumstances, love each other . . . until Jesus returns!
February Date Night Challenge Ideas