Mind, Character and Personality/Security in the Home
Human Love Should Draw on Divine Love—It is only in Christ that a marriage alliance can be safely formed. Human love should draw its closest bonds from divine love. [See section V, “Life’s energizing force.”] Only where Christ reigns can there be deep, true, unselfish affection.—The Ministry of Healing, 358 (1905).
Reaching God’s Ideal—Men and women can reach God’s ideal for them if they will take Christ as their helper. What human wisdom cannot do, His grace will accomplish for those who give themselves to Him in loving trust. His providence can unite hearts in bonds that are of heavenly origin. Love will not be a mere exchange of soft and flattering words. The loom of heaven weaves with warp and woof finer, yet more firm, than can be woven by the looms of earth. The result is not a tissue fabric but a texture that will bear wear and test and trial. Heart will be bound to heart in the golden bonds of a love that is enduring.—The Ministry of Healing, 362 (1905).
Weigh Every Sentiment in Contemplating Marriage—Let those who are contemplating marriage (p.153) weigh every sentiment and watch every development of character in the one with whom they think to unite their life destiny. Let every step toward a marriage alliance be characterized by modesty, simplicity, sincerity, and an earnest purpose to please and honor God. Marriage affects the afterlife both in this world and in the world to come. A sincere Christian will make no plans that God cannot approve.—The Ministry of Healing, 359 (1905).
Real Union Is the Work of Years—However carefully and wisely marriage may have been entered into, few couples are completely united when the marriage ceremony is performed. The real union of the two in wedlock is the work of the afteryears.—The Ministry of Healing, 359, 360 (1905).
Romantic Imagination Disappears—As life with its burden of perplexity and care meets the newly wedded pair, the romance with which imagination so often invests marriage disappears. Husband and wife learn each other’s character as it was impossible to learn it in their previous association. This is a most critical period in their experience. The happiness and usefulness of their whole future life depend upon their taking a right course now. Often they discern in each other unsuspected weaknesses and defects, but the hearts that love has united will discern excellencies also heretofore unknown. Let all seek to discover the excellencies rather than the defects. Often it is our own attitude, the atmosphere that surrounds ourselves, which determines what will be revealed to us in another.
There are many who regard the expression of love as a weakness, and they maintain a reserve that repels others. This spirit checks the current of sympathy. As the social and generous impulses are repressed, they wither, and the heart becomes desolate and cold. We should beware of this error. Love cannot long exist without expression. Let not the heart of one connected with you starve for the want of kindness and sympathy.—The Ministry of Healing, 360 (1905). (p.154)
Love Stimulates to Nobler Aims—Let each give love rather than exact it. Cultivate that which is noblest in yourselves, and be quick to recognize the good qualities in each other. The consciousness of being appreciated is a wonderful stimulus and satisfaction. Sympathy and respect encourage the striving after excellence, and love itself increases as it stimulates to nobler aims.—The Ministry of Healing, 361 (1905).
Individuality Not to Be Merged—Neither the husband nor the wife should merge his or her individuality in that of the other. Each has a personal relation to God. Of Him each is to ask, “What is right?” “What is wrong?” “How may I best fulfill life’s purpose?” Let the wealth of your affection flow forth to Him who gave His life for you. Make Christ first and last and best in everything. As your love for Him becomes deeper and stronger your love for each other will be purified and strengthened.—The Ministry of Healing, 361 (1905).
We have an individuality of our own, and the wife’s individuality is never to be sunk into that of her husband. God is our Creator. We are His by creation, and we are His by redemption. We want to see how much we can render back to God, because He gives us the moral power, He gives us the efficiency, He gives us the intellect; and He wants us to make the most of these precious gifts to His name’s glory.— Manuscript 12, 1895.
Entire Submission Only to Jesus—God requires that the wife shall keep the fear and glory of God ever before her. Entire submission is to be made only to the Lord Jesus Christ, who has purchased her as His own child by the infinite price of His life.... Her individuality cannot be merged into that of her husband, for she is the purchase of Christ.— Letter 18b, 1891 (The Adventist Home, 116.)
Thought That Union Is a Mistake Not to Be Harbored—Though difficulties, perplexities, and (p.155) discouragements may arise, let neither husband nor wife harbor the thought that their union is a mistake or a disappointment. Determine to be all that it is possible to be to each other. Continue the early attentions. In every way encourage each other in fighting the battles of life. Study to advance the happiness of each other. Let there be mutual love, mutual forbearance. Then marriage, instead of being the end of love, will be as it were the very beginning of love. The warmth of true friendship, the love that binds heart to heart, is a foretaste of the joys of heaven.—The Ministry of Healing, 360 (1905).
Relationship Controlled by Reason—Those who regard the marriage relation as one of God’s sacred ordinances, guarded by His holy precept, will be controlled by the dictates of reason. They will consider carefully the result of every privilege the marriage relation grants. Such will feel that their children are precious jewels committed to their keeping by God, to remove from their natures the rough surface by discipline, that their luster may appear. They will feel under most solemn obligations to so form their characters that they may do good in their life, bless others with their light, and the world be better for their having lived in it, and they be finally fitted for the higher life, the better world, to shine in the presence of God and the Lamb forever.—Healthful Living, 48, 1865 (Part 2) .
A Well-organized Family—The family firm should be well organized. Together the father and mother should consider their responsibilities. Together they should work for the highest good of their children. There is to be no variance between them. Never should they in the presence of their children criticize each other’s plans or question each other’s judgment. If the wife is inexperienced, she should try to find out where her work makes the work for her husband more difficult as he labors for the salvation of the children. And the husband should (p.156) hold up the hands of his wife, giving her wise counsel and loving encouragement.—The Review and Herald, July 8, 1902.
Parents Must Govern Themselves—Parents who successfully govern their families must first govern themselves. If they would only have pleasant words in their families, they must let their children hear only pleasant words from their lips. The planting of the seed will produce a like harvest. Parents have a solemn, sacred work to perform in educating their children by precept and example. They are under obligation to God to present their children to Him fitted at a very early period to receive an intelligent knowledge of what is comprehended in being a follower of Jesus Christ. If those who claim to be Bible Christians have children who do not fear and love God, in most cases it is because the parents’ example has not been a correct one. False, spurious seeds have been sown which have produced a harvest of briers and thorns.— Manuscript 59, 1900.
Gentle Words and Smiles for the Family—It is not only our privilege but our duty to cultivate gentleness, to have the peace of Christ in the heart and as peacemakers and followers of Christ to sow precious seed that will produce a harvest unto eternal life. Professed followers of Christ may possess many good and useful qualities; but their characters are greatly marred by an unkind, fretful, faultfinding, harshly judging temper. The husband or the wife who cherishes suspicion and distrust creates dissension and strife in the home. Neither of them should keep his gentle words and smiles for strangers alone, and manifest irritability in the home, thus driving out peace and contentment.— Letter 34, 1894 (HC 179.)
Vulgar Speaking to Be Avoided—Fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, I beseech you, do not indulge in low thought and vulgar speaking. Coarse sayings, low jests, want of courtesy in the homelife, will (p.157) leave an impression upon you, and if frequently repeated will become second nature. The home is too sacred a place to be polluted with vulgarity, sensuality, and recrimination. There is a Witness who declares, “I know thy works.” Let love, truth, kindness, and forbearance be the plants cultivated in the garden of the heart.— Letter 18b, 1891
Never Manifest Rudeness or Unkindness—Do you never manifest rudeness, unkindness, and impoliteness in the family circle? If you do manifest unkindness at your home, no matter how high may be your profession, you are breaking God’s commandments.—The Review and Herald, March 29, 1892.
Friends Not to Meddle in Homelife (counsel to a young man)—The home circle should be regarded as a sacred place, a symbol of heaven, a mirror in which to reflect ourselves. Friends and acquaintances we may have, but in the homelife they are not to meddle. A strong sense of proprietorship should be felt, giving a sense of ease, restfulness, trust.
But your association with other women and girls has been a source of temptation to them, leading them to take liberties and overstep the restraint which the marriage relation imposes on every man and woman. You have not perceived it, but your love of amusement and the spirit you have encouraged has not impressed others with the sacredness of the marriage relation.
Practical homelife is the great test of character. By his tender thoughtfulness in the home, by the exercise of patience, kindness, and love, a man determines his character.— Letter 17, 1895
Wives Pine for Words of Love—Many women pine for words of love and kindness and the common attentions and courtesies due them from their husbands who have selected them as their life companions. How much trouble (p.158) and what a tide of woe and unhappiness would be saved if men, and women also, would continue to cultivate the regard, attention, and kind words of appreciation and little courtesies of life which kept love alive and which they felt were necessary in gaining the companions of their choice.
If the husband and wife would only continue to cultivate these attentions which nourish love, they would be happy in each other’s society and would have a sanctifying influence upon their families. They would have in themselves a little world of happiness and would not desire to go outside this world for new attractions and new objects of love. Many a wife has sickened and died prematurely for the want of encouraging words of sympathy and love manifested in kindly attentions and in words.— Letter 27, 1872.
Husband Can Shut the Door Against Disease—The husband should manifest great interest in his family. Especially should he be very tender of the feelings of a feeble wife. He can shut the door against much disease. Kind, cheerful, and encouraging words will prove more effective than the most healing medicines. These will bring courage to the heart of the desponding and discouraged, and the happiness and sunshine brought into the family by kind acts and encouraging words will repay the effort tenfold.
The husband should remember that much of the burden of training his children rests upon the mother, that she has much to do with molding their minds. This should call into exercise his tenderest feelings, and with care should he lighten her burdens. He should encourage her to lean upon his large affections, and direct her mind to heaven, where there is strength and peace and a final rest for the weary. He should not come into his home with a clouded brow, but should with his presence bring sunlight into the family and should encourage his wife to look up and believe in God. Unitedly they can claim the promises of God and bring His rich blessing into the family. Unkindness, (p.159) complaining, and anger shut Jesus from the dwelling. I saw that angels of God will flee from a house where there are unpleasant words, fretfulness, and strife.—Testimonies for the Church 1:306, 307 (1862).
Husband Head of Household—The husband and father is the head of the household. The wife looks to him for love and sympathy and for aid in the training of the children; and this is right. The children are his as well as hers, and he is equally interested in their welfare. The children look to the father for support and guidance; he needs to have a right conception of life and of the influences and associations that should surround his family; above all, he should be controlled by the love and fear of God and by the teaching of His Word, that he may guide the feet of his children in the right way.—The Ministry of Healing, 390 (1905).
Wife a “Help Meet” for Husband—God Himself gave Adam a companion. He provided “an help meet for him”—a helper corresponding to him—one who was fitted to be his companion and who could be one with him in love and sympathy. Eve was created from a rib taken from the side of Adam, signifying that she was not to control him as the head, nor to be trampled under his feet as an inferior, but to stand by his side as an equal, to be loved and protected by him. A part of man, bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh, she was his second self, showing the close union and the affectionate attachment that should exist in this relation.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 46 (1890).
How to Create Peace in Home Circle—When the husband has the nobility of character, purity of heart, elevation of mind, that every true Christian must possess, it will be made manifest in the marriage relation.... He will seek to keep his wife in health and courage. He will strive to speak words of comfort, to create an atmosphere of peace in the home circle.— Manuscript 17, 1891. (The Adventist Home, 228.) (p.160)
Husbands should study the pattern and seek to know what is meant by the symbol presented in Ephesians, the relation Christ sustains to the church. The husband is to be as a Saviour in his family. Will he stand in his noble, God-given manhood, ever seeking to uplift his wife and children? Will he breathe about him a pure, sweet atmosphere? Will he not as assiduously cultivate the love of Jesus, making it an abiding principle in his home, as he will assert his claims to authority?— Manuscript 17, 1891. (The Adventist Home, 117.)
Husband Not to Dwell on His Position—It is no evidence of manliness in the husband for him to dwell, constantly upon his position as head of the family. It does not increase respect for him to hear him quoting Scripture to sustain his claims to authority. It will not make him more manly to require his wife, the mother of his children, to act upon his plans as if they were infallible.
The Lord has constituted the husband the head of the wife to be her protector; he is the house-band of the family, binding the members together, even as Christ is the head of the church and the Saviour of the mystical body. Let every husband who claims to love God, carefully study the requirements of God is his position. Christ’s authority is exercised in wisdom, in all kindness and gentleness; so let the husband exercise his power and imitate the great Head of the church.— Letter 18b, 1891 (The Adventist Home, 215.)
Wife Cheerfully to Help Husband Maintain Dignity—I have also been shown that there is often a great failure on the part of the wife. She does not put forth strong efforts to control her own spirit and make home happy. There is often fretfulness and unnecessary complaining on her part. The husband comes home from his labor weary and perplexed, and meets a clouded brow instead of cheerful, encouraging words. He is but human, and his affections become weaned from his wife, he loses the love of his home, his pathway is darkened, and his (p.161) courage destroyed. He yields his self-respect and that dignity which God requires him to maintain.
The husband is the head of the family, as Christ is the head of the church; and any course which the wife may pursue to lessen his influence and lead him to come down from that dignified, responsible position is displeasing to God. It is the duty of the wife to yield her wishes and will to her husband. Both should be yielding, but the Word of God gives preference to the judgment of the husband. And it will not detract from the dignity of the wife to yield to him whom she has chosen to be her counselor, adviser, and protector. The husband should maintain his position in his family with all meekness, yet with decision.—Testimonies for the Church 1:307, 308 (1862).
Man a Social Being—Among all the creatures that God had made on the earth, there was not one equal to man. And “God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (Genesis 2:18). Man was not made to dwell in solitude; he was to be a social being. Without companionship, the beautiful scenes and delightful employments of Eden would have failed to yield perfect happiness. Even communion with angels could not have satisfied his desire for sympathy and companionship. There was none of the same nature to love and to be loved.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 46 (1890).
Harmony in Home Possible Only by God’s Spirit—We must have the Spirit of God, or we can never have harmony in the home. The wife, if she has the spirit of Christ, will be careful of her words; she will control her spirit, she will be submissive, and yet will not feel that she is bondslave, but a companion to her husband. If the husband is a servant of God, he will not lord it over his wife; he will not be arbitrary and exacting. We cannot cherish home affection with too much care; for the home, if the Spirit of the Lord dwells there, is a type of heaven.— Letter 18b, 1891 (The Adventist Home, 118.) (p.162)
The Inner Circle Paramount—All our powers are to be used for Christ. This is the debt we each owe to God. In forming a relationship with Christ, the renewed man is but coming back to his appointed relationship with God. He is a representative of Christ, and he is ever to pray and watch unto prayer. His duties lie around him, nigh and afar off. His first duty is to his children and his nearest relatives. Nothing can excuse him from neglecting the inner circle for the larger circle outside.
In the day of final reckoning, fathers and mothers will be required to answer in regard to their children. Parents will be asked what they did and said to secure the salvation of the souls they took upon themselves the responsibility of bringing into the world. Did they neglect their lambs, leaving them to the care of strangers? Fathers and mothers, are you allowing your children to grow up in impurity and sin? A great good done for others will not cancel the debt you owe to God to care for your children. The spiritual welfare of your family comes first. Take them with you to the cross of Calvary, laboring for them as those that must give an account.— Manuscript 56, 1899.