And so if the path is homemaking, then how ought it be considered prior to the blessing of children? As practice! I think of the situation as this: how does the performance and success of an untrained employee compare to a well-trained one? Yes, the untrained employee would pick up the hows and whys of the job here and there, but would likely not be near as proficient as the one who had previously been instructed and practiced. Similarly, homemaking, especially if it is a foreign concept, requires education and practice. Do not be fooled into thinking that to remain home is to waste time or life, because in truth it is such valuable practice time! Have faith and trust that God provides and He has called you to your path for His purposes. He certainly isn't going to abandon you now!
Despite assurance in the path chosen being a calling and not for my own glory but His, there have still be challenges. In those times, I come back to what has been gained in my own experience in homemaking thus far:
Growth in Marriage
The time spent together makes a remarkable impact on the strength of a marriage. It is difficult to be highly in-tune to one's spouse and attentive to the marriage when so little time together exists. The more time spent together the closer we draw to each other and our marriage. In essence, in this sharing of life where we become one (Gen. 2:24 & Matt. 19:6). Furthermore, we aren't guaranteed tomorrow (James 4:14), and so to wait "x amount of time" for circumstances to change, or for our responsibility as a spouse and in our marriage to begin is foolishness. Your marriage is now, and so act now to give it the time it deserves. To greet my husband home after a long day of work, to share a meal each day, and to have his presence to confide my heart in are the blessings of time that make the sacrifices worthwhile. I also treasure how we do everything together. Again, it's about a sharing of life.
Remaining home also provides ample opportunity to learn and grow together through challenges, conflict, and focusing and working for each other.
Financial disputes rank at the top of marital conflict. It's a tough thing to blend two money philosophies and practices! In following the advice mentioned at the top, the shock of dropping from two incomes to one can create even more tension. It can nearly seem impossible to live well off of only one income, but it isn't. By practicing homemaking prior to children, the opportunity is provided to learn the many ways to cut expenses and manage on one income.It's a matter of having already established sustainable lifestyle choices. If you can live with less now, then you'll be better prepared to wisely handle more later. You may or may not need to keep all the adjustments, but you will have created a firm foundation for your family. Sacrifices quickly become insignificant when you consider that what you've traded for the gain of home and family is far more valuable.
Our capacity to change or grow is limited, but the Lord's ability is unlimited. He created us and He knows how to chip away at all that hinders us from life in Him. Once He has our attention, then He can then work on having our complete heart. The core of many aspect of personal growth like character, faith and love is the heart. I've come to discover that marriage is a tool in which He shapes our hearts. Oh, the lessons and work He's doing in my own! There exists a lot of falsehood in shared advice or example in life that we must sift through and seek Him and His will. Consider the time between marriage and parenting to be a time in which the Lord is doing a work in you within the role He has already blessed you. This time is also valuable in growing you to who He wishes you to be when another role is given to you. It's certainly a slow and often unnoticeable process, but a worthy one.
Home Management Skills
There is completion of tasks within the home, and then there is the management of the home. There is orderly proactive living, and then there is chaotic reactive living. This is the area that many individuals, like myself, are clueless in conducting. How do I purchase healthy foods economically and prepare dishes that will actually taste pleasant? How do I create and follow a schedule so that the laundry isn't spilling out of the laundry room and my home look an embarrassment all the time? How to I replace a button, redo the hem, take up the sides of clothing? How do I create a warm and inviting decor within my home with a small budget? On and on and on. For the most part, it's a matter of education and practice in attaining better skills as they relate to the home. The time before children is a great time to learn gardening, canning, economic cooking with wholesome ingredients, sewing or mending etc. Hone those home ec. skills that ..well..you were likely never taught ;).This is by no means to advocate reason to delay children, but to simply encourage you to utilize the time you have now to learn and practice the various aspects of homemaking.
I discovered this past Christmas that the reason that the season's activities are so difficult and stressful to participate in is because they are all things that are capable of being practice throughout the year but aren't. Similarly, customs established within the family of two will more likely remain in the family that expands to include children. It isn't necessary to wait until the arrival of children to begin reaching out and serving others, displaying greater character qualities or even reading the Bible together. Again, this time of homemaking without children is a great time for practice.
In all this practicing, it is important to understand that perfection isn't the goal but progress is.
What are some of the blessings you've received in your time homemaking without children?
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