Thursday, October 10, 2013

6 Steps to Help You Grow in Love for Your Family

Do you struggle to really love your husband & children?
Do you want to love your family more but feel you can't?
I've mentioned before that one of my daily prayers is that the Lord will teach me how to love my husband and children more like He loves them. While it's easy to lay the blame on my introverted-perfectionist qualities, the truth is, shortcomings and personality quirks aside, I often neglect to show the little people -- and even the big one -- in my life how much I love them like I should. And I need to.

This post is about the steps I'm taking right now to love my family more deeply. If you could use help in this area, I hope you'll keep reading.

You may be blessed with a gigantic heart for your people. If so, thank God for that blessing because a desire to love and spend time with your family is so important.

But for those of us whose natural inclination is not one of nurturing and showering love on our husbands and offspring, then don't feel guilty. According to Titus 2:4, loving our husbands and children is something that must be taught to us by older Christian women. That sounds to me like we aren't all born with a natural bent to love our families in the way God intends. We need instruction.


So what's the problem? Why is loving the people we have prayed and labored for so difficult? 

Because we are human, born with a selfish heart and a desire, first & foremost, to please ourselves. Again, we could lay the blame on Adam and Eve, but the truth is we have a choice. 

I want to love my family the way God intended, so I need to figure out what's keeping me from growing in that area. 

What can I do to love my family better?

1. Think & pray.    
There are obvious obstacles to loving our people like lack of sleep, physical illness, exhaustion, etc.but there may also be areas that aren't so transparent like a simple need for quiet. Humbly ask God to show you the places you might not see

Remember His promises to you:

Consider WHY you aren't giving more of yourself to your family. You might ask: 

"What specifically hinders me from loving my husband & children more?"

2. Then, make a list.  
I'm a list-maker, but you do what works for you. Just write down what is getting in your way. Identify exactly what the Lord lays on your heart, regardless of how horrible it might sound. {Trust me. You can't lie to God.}

Here's my list of obstacles to loving my family:
  1. The distractions of technology
  2. A need for quiet time alone 
  3. The chores & duties of running a household
  4. Lack of energy
  5. A selfish need for more "me time"
{God revealed that last one to me, and that's the real crux of my problem.}

With your list, you need to figure out how you can best arm yourself to circumvent these roadblocks to loving your family.
Next you will need to . . .

3. Create Action Steps.  
If I've learned anything about goal-setting and follow-through, it's that you will never accomplish anything without a realistic, spelled-out plan in place.

"What can I do to circumvent these roadblocks and better love my family?"

For each hindrance that you list, identify specific actions you can take to avoid that roadblock. {Ultimately, we want to get rid of the roadblocks, but for now, let's try to find ways to deal with them.}

 For example . . .

     1. The distractions of technology

What can I do?
Restrict my time online {easier said than done}

  • By not getting online or texting during school hours
  • By only using electronic devices during designated quiet times, nap times, and/or bedtime
  • By committing to spend time with my husband first, before going online at night
  • By having a plan in place before I go online as to what I need to do {this one minimizes all those rabbit trails}
Then move on to the next thing on your list . . .

     2. A need for quiet time alone

 What can I do?
Allot short "quiet times" throughout the day for everyone, plus be consistent in keeping "rest time" part of the daily routing

  • By creating a morning "room time" after school when girls can play in their rooms for 15-20 minutes while I recharge alone
  • By making "nap/quiet times" a consistent time each day {For example, from 1:00-3:00 everyone is resting quietly in their beds with a book, crayons, dolls, etc.}
  • By myself using nap/quiet times to rest, write, read, pray, and recharge {i.e. No chores!}
You get the idea. Create a plan for how you will deal with those nasty encumbrances that keep you from loving your family as fully as you can. Spell it out. Be specific. Denote any and everything that will help you achieve your ultimate goal. Then, . . .

  4. Commit Your Work to the Lord.  
If we truly expect to grow in love for our children and husbands, then we have to commit our plans to the Lord. If we are faithful, He promises to give us success.

5. Get to Work! 
It's helpful for me to keep my action plan nearby in my homemaking binder, so throughout the day, I can check my progress (or lack thereof) and get back on track if need be. 

Sometimes I may have to stop and pray, asking God to help me refrain from getting on my phone during an off-time or working during quiet time. Sometimes He'll use my kids to remind me that I'm breaking one of my own rules. Discipline is hard! But if we want to learn to love our families more fully, then we have to be willing to be refined. That means work!

6. Give Yourself Grace!  
You will stumble. You will make mistakes. You will still lose it with your children. You will wonder if it's possible to love your family even more than you do right now. But it is. They are worth it and so are you, so don't give up! Just grit your teeth and persevere. You will see results soon enough!

Don't forget that this is about growing in love for your family and not about getting it perfect.
Ask God to give you grace & strength to persevere.  

Ultimately, our goal is to love like Christ, but that won't happen over night. God has to furrow, cultivate, and plow through our hearts, exposing our sinfulness and bringing us to repentance. 

He is faithful. In the past 5 years, I have witnessed firsthand how God has grown my love for my husband and children exponentially. There is still much more work to be done in me, but it's so encouraging to see progress. And I know He will work as powerfully in you if you will let Him.

What keeps YOU from loving your family wholly and completely? What are you doing about those obstacles? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Praying God's blessings on you,

If you would like to have posts delivered to your inbox, click: Growing in His Glory. Or join us on Google Friend ConnectFacebookTwitter, & Pinterest.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

 I'm linking up to these lovely parties. Hope you'll join me!


  1. Another edifying post, Keri - thank you! I'll be sharing this on my FB blog post later on today, I know it will be a blessing to others!

    ~Lisha :)

  2. I just stumbled on your blog Keri. I was blessed by this post. I have been dual caregiver to my husband with cancer for the past 4 years, and my 4.5 year old son. I appreciate your honesty. I see that I struggle with a selfish need for "me" time as well and use technology to fulfill that while I am with my guys-my attention is divided. Thank you for your action steps. God bless you sister. May we have the courage to bare our hearts to our ever-loving father and trust him to help us in our growing pains. Brooke

  3. This is a great post! I am currently working on revamping my heart and spirit. It is so important to align God's love with our own family and raise our children is such grace.

    There were beautiful insights. Thank you for sharing.
    Kara @ ALLterNATIVElearning

  4. I love the advice of taking the time to think it through and come up with a plan, sometimes we think it will or should just happen!

  5. This is a great post! I too have 'nap/quiet' time with my kids. It gives me time to recharge before the rest of the day! I like the idea about putting the tecnology away- why is that so hard to do?! Stopping by from Titus 2sday Link Up.

  6. Wonderful post, Keri, These things have been on my heart lately. We are needing to re-vamp how we spend our days and your ideas are really helpful. Thank you!