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Love at Home
By Brian Pepper
I was speaking to a lawyer friend of mine who was greatly perturbed
over the large number of divorces and separations and broken homes
that came to his notice. This man was really troubled and he had
every right to be. For every thinking man and woman must realise
that when the home breaks up then eventually the nation will suffer.
A nation is only as strong as the homes of its citizens, for that is
where its prosperity comes from.
Marriage and Divorce Statistics
A study of the facts reveal that in a single year almost three times as many homes were broken by separation, divorce and annulment as were broken by death. It is not so easy to obtain up to the minute figures here in Australia, but from what I can understand, American figures are somewhat similar. In the USA there is on the average 2,132,000 marriages every year. Divorces and annulments are estimated at about 1,072,000, that is approximately 1 divorce for every 2 marriages.
Now here is something rather sad. Two fifths of the couples who pass through the divorce courts have minor-age children which means that over 500,000 small children will be involved in broken homes. This means that a large number of people will suffer the heartbreak, the tragedy, the problems that arise out of divorce in one year. Figures show that in the USA alone 3,500,000 children were involved in broken homes in the last ten years. That is a vast number when you consider it somewhere near the population of Sydney our largest city in Australia.
Now it is not my intention to speak to you on the subject of divorce
but rather Love at Home. We are seeing a great break up of home life
because there is little or no love at home. The way to avoid divorce
is to have love at home.
Main Causes of Marriage Upsets
The Gallop Poll reveals that there are ten items that are the main cause of marriage upsets.
1. Money problems topped the list
These are the things that cause a break-up of the home life. So
check them over carefully and see if they show a warning light.
Prevention is always better than the cure, for it does not leave any
scars. Now the question is this, "How are we going to have Love
Bible Blueprint for Happy Home
If people would only follow the Blue Print laid down in the Bible for a happy and harmonious home, how much better off they would be. Did you know that love of a man for a woman and a woman for a man was originally God's idea. He was the one who thought it up in the first place. 1 John 4:12 says, "If we If we love one another, God dwelleth in us and his love is perfected in us."
There was Adam in that beautiful Garden of Eden surrounded by an abundance of lovely things, luscious fruits, exquisite flowers, spectacular waterfalls and all the rest. God paraded before him the animals. Yes, every living creature was brought before him to receive its name. Adam could not help noticing that each animal had been given a companion. God saw this too, for He said in Genesis 2:18, "And the Lord God said, it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him."
God did not intend that the man should dwell in solitude. God never
intended that he should be a bachelor all his life. He was to be a
social being, and without companionship, all those beautiful scenes
and abundance of good things would have failed to make Adam happy.
God Himself gave Adam a companion, the perfect mate to share his
joys and happy experiences. I believe that the moment Adam looked at
Eve he fell in love with her, because falling in love is part of the
Falling in Love
Falling in love is a strange phenomenon. Some young people ask,
"How can you tell when you are in love?" All I can say is that
they need never worry about it. When it hits them they will know
alright and others will know too. The strangest things happen when a
young man falls in love. If he has been careless about his
appearance in the past, he certainly is not now. He spends much time
making sure that every hair is in place. If he was listless and
aimless before now, there is a new zest in his whole manner. No, you
will not need anyone to tell you when you are in love. There is
something wrong if you do. But you will need some guidance and
counsel if you are planning on marriage.
Selecting a Life Partner
According to God's plan, marriage is to be a very permanent thing. To the Christian it is a union that will last throughout eternity. In Genesis 2:24 we read, "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh."
There is a big difference between a passing emotional experience and
finding the kind of love that you will want to marry and to live
with all your life. You need to remember that the kind of man who
thrilled you in your teens, may not be the man that you will
eventually want to marry. Selecting a life partner is not easy. Just
because he sends thrills up and down your spine does not mean that
he will make a successful husband.
Need to know the Inner Person
You need to know the inner person and there is only one way to do
that. If you will allow him, God will open your eyes to look at the
inner person, the character of the one you love, the real being who
is going to live with you. That is the reason why we need Divine
help in our courtship and marriage. It is not enough to be in love.
In the Bible there are a number of illustrations of the right and
wrong kind of love and the results of such unions.
Samson - Wrong Kind of Marriage Union
An outstanding case of the wrong kind is that of Samson. Samson was tall, dark, handsome with a magnificent physique. I can just imagine how he must have appealed to the young ladies of his day. But we are told that he was not all that his appearance led the young ladies to believe. It was infatuation and sensual infatuation which controlled his life. One day he was visiting in enemy country when he saw a pretty and shapely girl. Immediately he wanted her. She looked good to him and that was all there was to it.
Although his parents warned him of the problems such a marriage would bring, that there would be religious differences to start with, also she belonged to the enemies camp and you cannot defeat your enemies when you join forces with them. Then being a Philistine, her way of living would be so different. But Samson determined that come what may, he would have her for his wife and he paid the price. It proved to be a tragic union. Infatuation cost Samson his eyes and his life.
You ought to read out his
experience and see how that love based on physical
attraction brings disaster. Every intending young couple ought to
carefully consider, is it true love in our case?
Jacob and Rachel - True Love
The Bible tells of another love affair. This time of Jacob and Rachel. With Jacob it was different. He was so deeply move by genuine love for Rachel that the Bible even records the bargain he made with her father. In Genesis 29:20 we read, "And Jacob served the seven years for Rachel and they seemed unto him but a few days for the love he had to her." That is true love alright. And it is the best description of true love that I have ever read. Jacob's love was tested to an even greater degree. For his father-in-law tricked him and he had to serve 14 years in all before he won the hand of his beloved Rachel.
It is only true love that will take you safely over the hills and the dales and through the trials and tests of married life. It is true love that makes for a happy and a contented home.
I read a very interesting story of a young man in the foreign service who sent a picture of himself to his bride. The strange thing about his gift was the absence of a signature. Instead there was a short musical score penned at the bottom of the picture. In his letter he told his wife that the musical score came from the song 'Because' that had been sung at their wedding. So she played the melody through until she came to the part on the photograph. Then she penned these words under the musical score "And pray His love may make our love divine." Every intending couple should pray that wonderful prayer.
The wise man says in
Proverbs 12:7, "But the house of the
righteous shall stand." Marriages fail because people fail, and
people fail because they attempt to establish a home without God.
How true are the words written in the book 'Wind, Sand and Stars',
"Life has taught us that love does not consist of gazing at each
other, but in looking outward together in the same direction."
Fiction says of marriage "And they lived happily forever after."
That may be a story book ending but the wedding is just the
Wedding just the beginning
Living together as man and wife is more than a romantic journey of
moonlight and roses. The stern realities of life have to be faced.
The man must work and the wife keep house. If the wife is a good
housekeeper that is fine, but if she is a poor housekeeper that will
break the spirit of any man. Good cooking is number one essential in
maintaining a happy home. I believe that poor cooking has been
responsible for a great deal of unhappiness in many homes. To
maintain a happy and contented home the wife should constantly
endeavour to improve her ability in that direction.
Right Spirit in the home
Of the utmost importance is the great need of the right kind of spirit in the home. I have been in some homes where immediately you enter the house you can sense that there is an unpleasant spirit. Sharp words are spoken with no punches pulled. The very atmosphere is charged with accusation and threats.
St Paul says in
Ephesians 4:31,32 "Let all bitterness, and wrath,
and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, but put away from you,
with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted,
forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven
you." With the right kind of spirit in the home there will be
happiness and contentment.
A good home
And here are three things that will guarantee success:
1. Put God first
I like the words that Grace Crowell has penned:
"So long as there are homes to which men turn at close of day;
A good home is very precious to every individual. The soldier out in
the battlefield is sustained by the thought of his home. The
missionary far away from civilisation, the traveller, the refugee,
the orphan, they all have a deep longing for home. t does not matter
a great deal whether the home is large or small, whether it is
surrounded by lovely gardens and stately pines, or just a humble
home in the middle of a large city. It is the atmosphere within
those walls that really counts. Home is far more than just a shelter
or a place to live in. And it takes loving hearts to make a home
complete. And without love it is just the same as any other
Fathers abdicating their responsibilities
The trouble today is that changing conditions in our present world has upset many of our modern homes. Fathers are abdicating their jobs as fathers. They have permitted their work to remove them from their place of family influence. Some years ago it was unusual for a man to work away from his home. If he ran a store, he lived over or behind it. If he made or repaired things, he did it around the house. But the change from home to factory and to the office has upset the place of authority in the family. Father has become almost a stranger in his own home. The children are asleep when he gets home, and still asleep when he leaves for work in the morning. He sees them only on the weekends and often not very much then.
It is true that the family survival depends on the pay check which father earns, but it is hard for the children to know and to understand this. Mother buys the groceries, prepares the meals, selects the clothes and buys the necessities for the family. Many families never know fathers' real prestige until the day of his funeral. God's plan was that man was to be the head of the family. His representative in the home.
Notice the words penned by Paul in
Ephesians 5:22,23 "Wives,
submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the
husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the
church." The man is the one who is responsible as protector and
provider of the home. Too many men neglect the home for their work,
or the club, or the lodge, or fishing. Others spend more time with
their friends than they do with their wives and children. The
hardest job in all the world is to keep house and to care for the
children. I know this from personal experience. We have had several
babies in our house and it has been quite an experience: cooking the
meals, washing the dishes, putting the children to bed. I would
rather work with a pick and shovel for eight hours a day, than to
stay at home and cook three meals a day, wash and iron the clothes,
bathe the children and dress and feed them.
There are some husbands who are inclined to be very liberal with themselves but rather stingy with their wives. How long has it been since you gave your wife two Ten Dollar notes and told her to go and buy something for herself. She might faint if you did. But in time she would bet over the shock.
Marriage means more to a woman generally speaking than it does to a
man. She has more adjustments to make. She changes her residence
from the security of the parent's roof to an uncertain security with
her new found mate. She has to change from a carefree school girl to
a jack of all trades. She takes on the duties of housekeeper,
homemaker, nurse, mother, cook, errand girl, gardener, child
psychologist, secretary, and many others.
It is the father's responsibility to maintain discipline in the
home. The husband is to be the head of the house in religious
matters as well. One boy, on being hurried into his clothes for
church one morning, rushed down to say goodbye to his father. His
father laid down his newspaper and the boy said, "Dad, how old
will I have to be before I can stay home from church like you do?"
The father thought for a moment and then he said, "Son, tell
mother to wait just a few minutes and I will go with you." He
was a wise father, but not all are wise in their leadership.
How to keep the home happy
Many young people never adjust themselves to the demands of work because no one cared enough about them to discipline them. Of course it is easy to be hard and unfeeling on one hand or to let the children run wild with no discipline on the other. The most important thing is to keep the home happy. In an atmosphere of criticism, harshness and unkindness, hearts wither and blight. So right up near the top of the list should come that little word kindness. Understanding is another vitally important word if we are to have love at home. It is most important that we recognize marriages fail because people fail, because they attempt to establish a home without God.
How true are the words of the wise man "... the house of the righteous shall stand." It is well for us to remember that love does not consist of gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction.