I love graciously entertaining in my home, and an important aspect of that love comes from being in sync with my husband. Being in sync in many ways – spiritually, physically, emotionally, and regarding how we work together in reaching out. Although I first loved entertaining more than my husband did, he eventually joined in – and he now shares in my bliss!
This love for entertaining didn’t happen overnight for my husband. His biggest fear was making conversation with others, and keeping it going throughout the meal. It took time for him to gain confidence, but when he saw how much I cared about our guests and how I loved to cook, he was inspired to become a better conversationalist, and jumped on the entertaining bandwagon with me. He started helping out when we hosted others, by adding his flair for making appetizers, barbequing, and picking out the music. The rhythm of our entertaining has blossomed and continues to this day.
My husband’s choice to reach out and grow a hospitable spirit has had great impact on our children. In a way, he’s creating the basis for what will serve them most once they are adults. Being raised in a home known for Irish hospitality, my husband learned the basics about serving others. He learned that it wasn’t the contents of a home, but the importance of making one feel welcome in it. Now as we get ready to welcome our guests, we always include the kids in our preparations. Even though he is not purposely creating a picture of “hospitality” for our children, my husband is fashioning for them a gift that will carry them through life.
Our harmony in opening up our home has been a gift to our children. They will understand hospitality when they become adults. They will know and remember how their father carried the conversation at the dining table – and how he reached out to individuals in a way that was honest and helpful. They will remember watching him question guests with concern, and also share with them his own struggles and joys. They’ll remember how we worked as a family, preparing for our guests. Starting the barbeque, cleaning the pool, mowing the lawn, or any last minute chores. Even though things do not have to be perfect, they still learn to “prepare.”
They will also remember how their father was in sync with their mother. And how we worked together. Even when we were tired or didn’t feel like it, we still made an effort. Entertaining is not for the tired and the weak (although you still learn to open up your heart, even when you are tired). It takes energy, planning, and organization.
We’ve determined that once a solid foundation for hospitality is laid, the rest is simple. As we give of ourselves, ministering through food and conversation, we receive a great sense of satisfaction in knowing that it’s not about us – at all.
It has become a rewarding part of life for us. We’ve developed an entertaining style that is gracious. And as we always say, it’s real entertaining for real people. As Pope John XXIII said: “It’s easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father.”
Here’s to husbands who seek to be good examples to their families!