Have you ever wondered how people go from being best friends to breaking up, divorcing, or ending their friendships? Blogger Matt Walsh wrote a blog earlier this year called, “I Think There Are Irreconcilable Differences In My Marriage.” He highlighted the fact that every marriage has irreconcilable differences because it is impossible to agree with any one person about everything in the entire world. So, if irreconcilable differences exist in not only every marriage but every friendship, what contributes to some people to ending friendships and marriages and not others?
A place we should all evaluate that is often overlooked is the home. What is “home”? What does it signify? It’s a place of comfort and ease; it is the place in which we share our most intimate relationships. In our homes your find our spouses, our family, our closest friends. It is the place we are most comfortable and vulnerable at. Yet, when we become most vulnerable is when we can become the most defensive. We like the idea of being right. It’s just true. Instant friendships can grow over being the same- “Wow, I love that place, too! I love to do that, too!” We like to be liked and we like to be alike. Differences feel okay as long as they are convenient. Well, something you can take to the bank is the fact that, in any home, there will always be differences in any relationship, and dealing with them in a graceful way begins long before that conversation in which you run into said differences.
How do we deal with our differences in a healthy manner? It all starts with the atmosphere of the home. Is it a place of peace, unconditional love, and acceptance? Or is it a place of bickering, judgement, and strife? From families to friends to marriages, everyone has a responsibility in how they contribute to the atmosphere of a home and it is important to recognize that. If you’ve never been intentional about setting the atmosphere of your home, you might just be surprised at how different it is once you try.
The atmosphere of your home starts with spiritual groundwork. What is the spiritual atmosphere of your home? Does it feel like a place the Holy Spirit has been invited to work or does it feel like a place that is “crazy” and completely lacking the fruit of the spirit? Pray over your husband, your wife, your children, and pray for peace, joy, and love to abound in your home. These prayers have the powerful to transform your home, and this daily spiritual groundwork has the power to change the way things happen in your home- from how disagreements go to just what kind of mood you are in when you are at home.
Then, there is the practical side. If your children are running everywhere and you’ve spent all day yelling at them, your home is not going to be a peaceful place for anyone to walk into. If the way you deal with your spouse is with barbs and veiled insults, it isn’t going to feel like your home is a safe place to be vulnerable. If you respond to critique with defensiveness, that creates a breeding ground for bitterness and citing those “irreconcilable differences.” Creating at atmosphere of peace and acceptance allows everyone to speak from their heart, disagree, to still be loved, and still move on.
Please understand I am not insinuating that relationships are not hard. Any relationship that one is truly invested in will be painful, at times. In fact, the Bible references this in Proverbs 14:4, which says, “Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for for a large harvest.” Our lives (the stable) are neater and more tidy without relationships (oxen), but for a full life of purpose, friends, loved ones (a large harvest), you need relationships (a strong ox).
I remember the first time I heard someone talk about the atmosphere of the home. It hit me like a load of bricks between the eyes. I realized that the reason my days often felt dreary was because I walked around with a pessimistic view of life and that’s what other people walked into when they walked into my life. Changing and choosing to be hopeful and see the potential of life took a lot of work, but, with time, my home began to change and people walking into my space didn’t feel this negativity I had been holding on to.
You create a personal atmosphere everywhere you go, and it is most noticeable in your home. If you feel like you’ve been needing a change, evaluate how you’ve been living and what atmosphere you are creating around yourself. This impacts those who live with you and this impacts your future. I challenge you to think about what goes on in your home and why. Take some time and begin setting a fresh atmosphere in your home through prayer and daily intentionality. You’ll be surprised at just how big of a difference it makes.
Have you experienced the way the atmosphere of a home can impact others? Comment below and tell us about it!