People do strange things sometimes. At least that’s how it seems until you find out why.
While in college, I found it odd that a childhood friend visited my family before her own when she returned to town during university holidays. Even on short weekend breaks, she’d find a way to spend her first moments with my folks.
Years later I found out why.
One day she confided, “When I walk into your home everyone gets up, greets me with a warm “hello” or “hey!” and wraps me up in a bear-sized hug. When I walk into my home, no one even bothers to stop what they’re doing. It’s not that my family doesn’t love me; it’s just that your family shows love. Your family makes me feel like a big deal.”
Home is where you’re made to feel like a big deal. More than welcome, you are wanted.
When my husband, JP, was in seminary, he learned what he and I now affectionately term “The Three Minute Rule.” Studies show that the first three minutes of every human interaction — the first three minutes of the morning, the first three minutes at the office, the first three minutes when family comes home — these 180 seconds set the tone of your communication for the rest of the day.
It’s not that a negative tone can’t be course corrected — it can — but it’s a lot harder to make a negative interaction positive than keep a positive interaction positive.
The day I learned about the importance of the first three minutes, my mind wandered back to my childhood like an old cassette tape on rewind.
No matter what time Dad came home, we’d hear his key jingling in the lock, followed by a booming, baritone “Heeeelllllooooo!” as he entered the front door.
Mom answered the same way every night — with a cheerful “Hey!” spoken in a way that could only be interpreted as “Yippee! You’re home.”
What the experts say can be done in three minutes my parents did in three seconds. No wonder our friends dubbed my parent’s place “The Happy House.”
It’s not that their lives were perfect. They weren’t. He often worked late and traveled long. She played both mom and dad more often than she preferred. They had their share of life’s hurts and heartbreaks. They occasionally argued, like all married couples do. One time my mom even threw a tuna fish sandwich at my dad’s head. She missed.
It landed against the wall, made a slow slide down, leaving tuna and mayo evidence of her frustration. Dad never saw it coming. He didn’t even know he’d dodged the drama until mom started cleaning the mess.
In other words, they were normal.
They are normal.
But in the midst of it all, they never stopped making each other feel welcome and wanted. They never got too busy or too distracted to take a few seconds each day to say “you’re a big deal” simply by the way they greeted one another. They never stopped making us kids feel that way, either. After 55 years of marriage, they still do it.
Now I have my own home and my own family.
Recently our youngest daughter heard me speak. During the message I mentioned the importance of the first three minutes. Afterward, she laughed when she told me I enter our home just like Granddaddy and greet my husband just like Grammy.
I didn’t even realize she’d noticed.
Somewhere in the midst of making a marriage and managing a house full of kids, I decided to make my parent’s habit, my habit. I purposed to make the first few moments count.
Because home is not merely where you’re welcome; home is where you feel wanted.
Related: Gift a friend this beautiful necklace and earrings set and express words of gratitude for the friendship you share together.Leave a Comment
Lovely! Just what I needed to hear, I’m definitely going to try and incorporate the three minute rule into my marriage and family life.
Awesome post and a great reminder! Thank you for sharing! 🙂
Jp Jones says
Awesome message and so true! Our love needs to expressed over and over again so that people feel it. Well said-amen!
Kim Kerr says
Awesome post and a much needed reminder! Thanks for your inspiring words.
Maureen Drinhuyzen Haverly says
Just a great message and simple reminder to show our love to each other. Thank you Donna. You are such an inspiration.
Kylie Ann Jones says
Love love love!!
Kristin Crapo says
EVERY single person…. man, woman or child, needs to and deserves to FEEL loved! Even family pets respond well to a loving greeting! Love is contagious, lets all start spreading it! And, for the record: When you hear “Hey!!!” out of Donna’s mouth, it speaks SO MUCH more than 3 letters…her tone and body language speak volumes of;
I’m so happy to see you, I love you, you are valued and all is well now that YOU’RE here!
Donna Jones says
We do all need to feel loved and valued, don’t we? Love how you mentioned even our pets respond to positive greeting! And thanks for your kind words!!
Kristin S says
Oh, I love this!
It’s interesting. After 21 years at the same church, I’ve been on the hunt for the last year for a new church home. I thought I had landed but it doesn’t FEEL like home. Last week I realized that I wanted to be missed. I travel a lot and miss Sundays frequently. It felt selfish to even think but is it so bad to want to be missed at your church? I live alone so nobody cares that I enter the door at the end of the day so I think I long for that at church.
Beth Williams says
No it is not wrong to want to be missed. Some churches get so big that people don’t really get to know one another and don’t realize when others are gone! Prayers that God will lead you to a nice small church where you can truly get to know the people there! May God guide you to the right church at the right time!
Debbie Simler-Goff says
I love this!! I was one of those kids that went to someone else’s house to feel the warmth. As an adult, I determined early on to make the home I raised my children in a HAPPY HOME. 🙂 Love your quote: “Home is where you’re made to feel like a big deal. More than welcome, you are wanted.”
Becky Keife says
Such a simple thing–the way you greet someone–but obviously so very powerful. Growing up my best friend’s family sounds very much like yours, and my experience like your friends. Actually makes me a little teary now thinking of it because I always felt *wanted* at the G’s house. My three sons are young and not yet at the age of invited friends over on their own…but when they do I hope my home will be one that makes all feel not only welcomed, but wanted, and I see through your beautiful story that that starts with how I greet my husband. Thank you.
Lori Badger Marshall says
So important! Our homes become havens of love and kindness when we show and speak love to our family and friends. Thank you for the reminder!
Leslie Mayers says
Such a great reminder, Donna! I want my home to be a place where everyone feels wanted!
Karen Fulco says
Wow, I love that Donna. Well said! You live what you say too!
Great reminder for me to focus on family and friends feeling WANTED. So much more than feeling welcomed. Love the simple “3 minutes” tip.
Thank you Donna:)
Hmmm… something to think about and pursue… for sure!! I like this!!
Kelli Condon says
What an inspirational reminder, Donna! When my hubs gets home, I’m gonna plant a sloppy kiss on him! You’re right ~ everyone wants to feel wanted and if you don’t feel that way at home, where else would you go? Love this article! XO
What a great message to remind us all that our home is the place where we should feel loved and accepted. Thanks for sharing!
Beth Williams says
This is how I try to greet my husband when he comes home! Always looking for ways to make him feel special and know that he is loved!!! Home should be a place you feel wanted & loved!! Everyone wants to feel loved and wanted!
You are so right Donna. It’s so easy to set a positive tone if we just pause and are intentional.
No one wants to come home to an uncaring or negative environment…..especially when it’s your “home”
Donna, I love your story of welcome and joy. A simple action and a tenderly placed word can set the tone for a lovely evening, a fun weekend, and most especially a place of acceptance. What a sweet gift to give to our husband, our children, our friends, our family! Love YOU my welcoming friend
Nora Konma Higa says
Love this! It’s so true and simple! I’ve never heard it explained as “The 3 minute Rule” but I’ve experienced it:) and now I will more intentionally incorporate it at home and at work! Thanks, Donna! Great message!