Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Just Ask Joyce: My Home Life is Not Fun!

Q: "I don't enjoy coming home anymore. Home used to be a refuge after a long day at work, but now it is no longer. We are nicer to strangers than we are to each other. The kids are constantly at each other's throats. My husband is grouchy most of the time. Any suggestions for how we can create a pleasant atmosphere in our home again, or are we too far gone?"

Joyce: There is nothing wrong with your home that a little kindness couldn’t fix. We've all heard it said people are kinder to strangers than they are to their own families. How true this is the majority of the time. When it comes to our families, and especially our spouses, we expect unrestricted forgiveness and unconditional love to be mounted against our unleashed tongues when our days are less than fulfilling. If we get up on the wrong side of the proverbial bed, there's cause to be grumpy, and if a spouse or other family members can't excuse it, they'll get over it sooner or later. If they don't, the pouting, silent treatment sets in or the distance barrier is set up until the coast is clear. When parents model unkindness, kids follow their lead. Anytime these circumstances are more the norm in a home, it makes one wish she was a stranger in her own home.

If these kinds of patterns turn into years of avoidance, it can complicate a perfectly simple household. Some of the fruits an unkind spirit bears are lack of respect and consideration, a breakdown in communication, a total disregard for loyalty, and apprehension for trust. When this kind of tension is present in the home, it makes a mockery of simplicity in daily living.

Having your family take stock of their kindness gauge would be a good place to begin. Here are three elements to kindness that are a must:

Check your tone. Is your tone harsh toward your spouse and family members more often than not? A good way to test this is to turn a recorder on. You’ll be on your best behavior for a while, but eventually your truest colors will shine through. Tone sets the tone for home. Pitching a more tender one brings welcomed harmony.

Alter your attitude. Life in general gets difficult. The course of any day can take a turn for the worst, and by the time we walk through the door, we’re not fit for man or beast. Home should be our refuge from the world. If we allow our attitude toward our spouse and/or children to be tainted by the events of the day, we compromise the most valued assets at our disposal.

Change your actions. The most effective measure of our kindness is our actions. They do speak louder than words. When we act our way into a better way of feeling, we soon feel like being kind as a matter of routine. Eventually, kindness becomes something we don’t have to work at; it simply happens. For the Oglesbys, our home is peacefully kind and we do what we can to make sure it stays that way. Having grown up in a home laced with hurtful words and actions, I value the serenity of a home where people hold one another in high regard and where concern for the other people in the home overrides personal wants and needs. Acting out the motions of kindness rather than giving thought to the intention thereof makes home a good place to walk into at the ends of the day.

Kindness is contagious. It isn’t hard to contract, although some people have built a strong resistance to catching such a fever. But once your home is infected with kindness, it’s hard to imagine slipping back into the complications of life without it.

Change your family life … NOW! Write Joyce Oglesby, Family-Life Fitness Pro at I’m here to help! Order my bookends for marriage today at They’re for every marriage – the good, the bad, or the ugly!

1 comment:

  1. Start with just saying: 'Thank You' and meaning it for the simple things. We have different expectations for our family than we do strangers - we need to start with the basics.


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