How to Make Your Family Life Happy
A GOOD recipe, followed closely, will result in a good cake. Similarly, a good recipe, or guide, is important in creating a happy family.
Logically, we would expect the Originator of the family to provide such a recipe. And he has. God has provided guidance and instruction in the Bible on how to make a success of family life.
Yet many may object: “People in ‘Christian’ lands have had the Bible all their lives, and it has not solved their family problems. Their divorce rates are often among the highest.”
This is true. Millions of unhappy families do possess the Bible. But have they read it? More importantly, have they applied its principles in their lives? The fact is that most possessors of a Bible do not read and apply its laws and principles.
On the other hand, some persons argue: “There are happy families in which the Bible is not used as a guide, and none of the family members even believe in God.”
This, too, is true. How, then, does their happiness come about? It results because, although they do not do so intentionally, the members of the family actually follow a standard similar to that set out in the Bible. The fact is, humans were created by God with a conscience, and some persons, without even knowing it, adopt a way of life that is fairly close to harmonizing with God’s laws and principles for family life.—Rom. 2:14, 15.
What are some of these laws and principles of God? Examine them on the following pages and see if you do not agree that the application of them will contribute to happiness in your family.
LOVE YOUR WIFE
The Bible, with divine wisdom, states: “Husbands ought to be loving their wives as their own bodies.” (Eph. 5:28-30) Time and again, experience has proven that for wives to be happy they need to feel they are loved. This means that a husband should give his wife special attention, including tenderness, understanding and reassurance. He needs to ‘assign her honor,’ as the Bible says, taking her into consideration in all that he does. In this way he will earn her respect.—1 Pet. 3:7.
RESPECT YOUR HUSBAND
And what about wives? “The wife should have deep respect for her husband,” the Bible declares. (Eph. 5:33) Failure to heed this counsel is a chief cause for husbands resenting their wives. A wife shows respect by supporting her husband’s decisions, and cooperating whole-souled with him to achieve family goals. By fulfilling her Bible-assigned role as ‘helper and complement’ to her husband, she makes it easy for her husband to love her.—Gen. 2:18.
BE FAITHFUL TO EACH OTHER
The Bible says: “Husbands and wives must be faithful to each other.” To the husband it says: “Be happy with your wife and find your joy with the girl you married . . . why should you give your love to another woman? Why should you prefer the charms of another man’s wife?”—Heb. 13:4; Prov. 5:18-20, Good News Bible.
‘Group marriage,’ ‘open marriage’ and other such alternatives to marriage and family, which are really adultery, simply do not lead to true happiness. “Infidelity doesn’t work,” concluded one marriage researcher. “Lots of people think an adulterous affair might spice up a marriage, but an affair was always a sign of real problems.”
SEEK YOUR MATE’S PLEASURE
The Bible teaches: Happiness does not come when one seeks sexual pleasure primarily for oneself, but, rather, in seeking also to provide it for one’s mate. It says: “Let the husband render to his wife her due; but let the wife also do likewise to her husband.” The emphasis is on rendering, giving. And by giving, the giver also receives genuine pleasure, as Jesus Christ indicated by saying: “There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.”—1 Cor. 7:3; Acts 20:35.
GIVE OF YOURSELF TO YOUR CHILDREN
A child in the third grade wrote: “My dad works all the time. He is never home. He gives me money and lots of toys, but I hardly ever see him. I love him and wish he would not work all the time so I could see him more.”
Sad to say, the situation is similar in many families, with disastrous consequences. What a difference it makes when parents follow the Bible’s admonition to teach their children ‘when they sit in their house and when they walk on the road and when they lie down and when they get up’! Giving of yourself to your children, spending quality time with them, is certain to contribute to family happiness.—Deut. 11:19.
PROVIDE NEEDED DISCIPLINE
Perhaps most children wish their parents would let them do whatever they please. But a youth whose parents had failed to provide any discipline said: “Well, it’s not fun. It makes me feel guilty and rotten. One of these days I’m afraid I’ll do something awful.”
Recognizing what is needed, the Bible urges: “You, fathers, . . . go on bringing [your children] up in the discipline and mental-regulating of Jehovah.” The giving of discipline, even if it may include a spanking or a taking away of privileges, is an evidence of parental love. The Bible says: “The one loving [his son] is he that does look for him with discipline.”—Eph. 6:4; Prov. 13:24; 22:15; 23:13, 14.
YOUTHS—RESIST WORLDLY WAYS
The world applies pressure upon youths to ‘do their own thing,’ to rebel against authority. Also, as the Bible states, “foolishness is tied up with the heart of a boy.” (Prov. 22:15) So it is a fight to do what is right.
Yet the Bible says: “Children, it is your Christian duty to obey your parents, for this is the right thing to do.” It will bring rich rewards. So be wise. Heed the counsel: “Remember your Creator while you are still young.” Resist the temptations to take drugs, get drunk, commit fornication and do other things that violate God’s laws.—Eph. 6:1-4; Eccl. 12:1, Good News Bible.
STUDY THE BIBLE TOGETHER
If one member of the family studies and applies Bible principles, it will contribute to family happiness. But if all do—husband, wife and children—what a blessed family that will be! There will be a warm, close relationship, with open communication, as each family member tries to help the others to serve Jehovah God. So make it a family habit to study the Bible together!
When a recipe has proved successful, does it not make sense to use it? When a road map has guided other travelers to a desired destination, can you not rely on it to get you safely to the same place? The Bible has proved to be such a successful recipe, or guide, to family happiness.
The early American president Thomas Jefferson said: “The studious perusal of the Sacred Volume will make better citizens, better fathers, better husbands . . . The Bible makes the best people in the world.” It makes the kind of people everyone enjoys being around, the kind that make warm, close families.
But is there proof that applying the Bible’s counsel today will contribute to family happiness? Indeed there is. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe the Bible to be inspired by God, and so they look to it as their guide. A reporter, covering a European convention of theirs, noted: “They know the Bible by heart to such an extent as to outdo the most scrupulous theologian. It’s their bed-side book, if not their only book.”—Journal d’Europe, August 14, 1973.
What has been the effect of applying the Bible’s counsel to their family life? This is often strikingly evident at conventions of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Green Bay, Wisconsin, Press-Gazette, reporting on one of their large conventions in 1976, said:
“Families are the rule rather than the exception. And the presence of all those children, ranging in age from babes in arms to teenagers, does nothing to disturb the tranquillity and quiet dedication of the remainder of the Witnesses.
“Rather it adds a feeling of togetherness, serious, yet lighthearted, that has pervaded the scene of swarming humanity at the Brown County Veterans’ Memorial arena.”
Application of Bible laws and principles really does contribute to family happiness! Husbands and wives stick together in love, children are provided wise discipline, and young ones respond by respecting their parents. In time the earth will be filled with happy families who all apply God’s laws. How can we be so sure?
Happy Families Earth Wide
It is because Jehovah God himself arranged for the family. He joined the first human pair in marriage, and instructed them: “Have many children, so that your descendants will live all over the earth and bring it under their control.”—Gen. 1:28, Good News Bible.
God’s purpose was for these earthly families to be happy. Children were not to get sick and adults were not to grow old and eventually die. It was God’s original purpose for humans to live forever in perfection, and for the whole earth, in time, to be cultivated as a lovely paradise.
This original purpose of God will yet be fulfilled. In answer to the prayer for God’s kingdom to come to accomplish his will on earth as it is done in heaven, God’s heavenly government soon will take action to sweep away all present earthly governments and their corruption. (Matt. 6:9, 10; Dan. 2:44) As the Bible promises: “God himself will be with [humankind]. And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more . . . The former things have passed away.”—Rev. 21:3, 4.
Do you really desire family happiness? Jehovah’s Witnesses are devoted to helping people to learn the teachings of the Bible. They will be happy to consider with you further details as to what the Bible says on the matter of building a happy family life. To arrange for this, simply write the publishers of this magazine or contact Jehovah’s Witnesses locally.