Emotional Safety

What if home were the safest place in the world?

Christi Straub

The other day I was listening to the podcast Fostering Emotional Safety and this statement hit me. It got me thinking, what am I doing to make our home a safe haven for our family?

The full thought expressed by Christi was: “What if home were the safest place in the world for all those people to come home to? To be looked at, across the dinner table and the couch: “I want to hear how your day was. I want to hear about what happened to you today. I don’t need you to show up as anything you’re not. I don’t need you to fix me; I’m not trying to fix you. I accept you for who you are and what you’re bringing.” If we could make homes that felt like that, that would really start to change our culture, a generation, maybe a world.”

I will be brutally honest. This is not the environment I have been creating in our home. Rather than listen and support my wife or my daughter, I am more likely to listen and try to fix the problem. Sadly it has taken me years to realize that nobody likes being “fixed”. How might I change this? How might I condition myself to ensure that my response is loving, understanding and empathetic?

A point later in the podcast highlighted my problem in detail. They shared a story about a past interview with Dr. Robertson McQuilkin, former President of Columbia Bible College and Seminary, who had stepped down from his role as the president because his wife had developed Alzheimer’s. Her care had required him to be home with her. He said, “She is always anxious if I’m not with her and always happy if I am with her, so I must be with her.” (full resignation speech here)

In this past interview Dr. Robertson also shared a story about a conflict they had had—this was back before her Alzheimer’s had started. They were in conflict; and she was expressing her frustration, her anger, her emotions, her sadness. He was explaining to her, logically, why what she was feeling was not how she should be thinking; right? He was trying to correct the feelings. In the middle of the conflict, she looked at him, and she said, “Robertson, logic isn’t everything; and emotions aren’t nothing.”

Robertson, logic isn’t everything; and emotions aren’t nothing.

Muriel McQuilken

Like Dr. Robertson, I quickly dismiss emotion as a weakness, and try to use logic to resolve the situation. I try to use the business tools I have learned to resolve non-business issues, and I am sure I make many other mistakes…

So what is next? How might I improve…

  • I am going to humbly ask my wife how I might improve. How I might make her feel safe, loved, respected, valued.
  • I am going to seek time for us as husband and wife to just discuss what we are feeling and to take time and enjoy being together.
  • I am going to ask my daughter the same questions
  • I am going to pray for patience and wisdom
  • I am going to continue to seek small ways I can improve our home to be a “safe place” for my family and for others.

Life isn’t fair and the world is not always a friendly place. I might not have the ability to change the reality we face, but I can definitely improve how I react, and in doing so, become an emotional rock my family can lean on.

Do you feel that your home is an “Emotional Safe Haven”? For many of us this is an area where we could improve. This podcast was a nudge for me to improve. I hope you are further along on this journey than me, and that you are building emotional security and resilience into your family and other relationships. However, maybe you are at the other end and you need someone to create a safe place for you (if this is you, you can contact me anytime). Regardless, I think we all have the ability to improve, to provide love without fear, and to make this world a better place.

Wishing you all the best,

Douglas Diemel

2 thoughts on “Emotional Safety

  1. Good for you! What a blessing that podcast was for you and how great that you were able to take it to heart without defensiveness. Trying to fix things comes naturally for most men. And some women are the same way. I tend to be very matter of fact, analytical and try to fix people. I’m working on it! Remind yourself, like I do, they usually don’t want you to fix it, just to listen to them and care. Thanks for a great post!

    Liked by 1 person

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