The Key to Family Happiness
HAPPINESS is a desire common to all of us, is it not? No matter what our age, national background or station in life may be, we want to be happy. And since happiness is enhanced when shared, it gladdens our hearts to see others joyful and contented too. Especially is this true of those near and dear to us, our loved ones. And when this blessed state of well-being, known as happiness, exists among family members, is it not true that the inevitable adversities of life are easier to cope with, more endurable? So, who will deny the desirability of happy family life?
Indeed, even in this chaotic world, family living can be very delightful. True, it represents a lot of hard work, anxiety and sacrifice. But what family will not agree that the compensating joys make it all worth while?
Yet, as delightful as family life can be, the truly happy family is the exception today. Of course, any family will have its ‘ups and downs’; none are immune to problems. Misunderstandings, for example, will mar the happiness of any home if allowed to persist. Or any number of things such as illness or pressures of work may contribute to edginess or irritability, which, in turn, may give vent to regrettable words and actions. These, in turn, may lead to hurt feelings and, consequently, strained relations. So problems, big or small, are the common lot of families in this world of imperfection in which we live.
FAMILIES IN CRISIS
Living styles in this 20th century have so accentuated family problems that some express concern over the very continuance of the family institution as the basic unit of human society. The spiraling divorce rate, the separations and the consensual and homosexual relationships are some of the factors prompting such concern.
With so many families throughout the earth in a state of crisis, it is only logical that we wonder: Why? Though perhaps they are successful in other fields of endeavor, why do so many fail to achieve success on the home front? In spite of their seeking help through family counselors, psychiatrists and the like, why have they not discovered the key to family happiness?
Though it is no joking matter, the clue to the answer lies in a phrase that is often said lightheartedly: “When all else fails, follow the instructions.” When instructions are followed, as in operating a machine, malfunctions and breakdowns can generally be avoided. So, naturally, the instructions should be consulted first. However, human nature being what it is, frequently they are consulted only as a last resort, “when all else fails.” But what are the “instructions”? Where are they found?
THE FAMILY’S FOUNDER
The family is much more complex than any machine ever devised by man. Therefore, it is extremely unscientific to suppose that it came into existence through chance or accident, without the intervention of a designer and maker. For every effect there must be a corresponding cause. The first-century writer was, therefore, scientifically sound when he stated: “Every house is constructed by someone, but he that constructed all things is God.”—Heb. 3:4.
So family life did not just happen. It was caused. Sometime after creating the first man, the very One who caused it said: “It is not good for the man to continue by himself. I am going to make a helper for him, as a complement of him.” Then, upon uniting our original parents in wedlock, and in full accord with his making them male and female, “God blessed them and God said to them: ‘Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it.’” (Gen. 2:18; 1:27, 28) Thus, in fulfillment of God’s stated purpose, the family arrangement came into being.
GUIDELINES TO HAPPY FAMILY LIVING PROVIDED
Now, did the Founder of the family expect his earthly children to learn about their roles in life through the painful process of trial and error? Or, did he give us guidelines on how the family unit is to function? As we should expect of a loving Father, he gave us rules of action or “instructions” to guide us. The key to family happiness lies in our ‘following the instructions’ on family living and in cultivating a fine relationship with their Author, the One that made us.—Ps. 100:3; 119:1, 2; 128:1, 2.
For our benefit, some 3,500 years ago our loving Creator began to have the guidelines on family living recorded in a volume of small books that deals comprehensively with the subject of the family. Available today, in whole or in part, in over 1,600 languages, that volume is accessible to virtually all the families of the earth. In view of the incomparable value of its contents, it is indeed providential that it is the most widely circulated book in all history. That book is, of course, the Holy Bible.—2 Tim. 3:16, 17.
In referring to the Holy Bible as a source book of information on family living, may the reader not conclude that we are referring to nominal church teachings on the subject? No. Why, even a cursory examination will show that the worldly churches of Christendom have misrepresented Jehovah, the God of the Bible, and have invalidated His Word because of their human philosophies and traditions. (Ps. 83:18; Matt. 15:6) Not by coincidence, then, is the breakdown in family life so evident in their domain. Nevertheless, the churches’ blameworthy record in no way detracts from the truthfulness, reliability and practicalness of the Bible as the guide we sorely need in finding the key to family happiness.
The Bible is, outstandingly, a book about family life. In telling us of the first marriage, it explains why God made the sexes and, therefore, the purpose of sex and its rightful place in honorable family living.
In God’s Word, too, we can read about the trials and joys of literally scores of families. Such family accounts can be of great benefit to all of us, young and old alike. Are you looking for a marriage mate that will prove to be a loyal companion? Then you will want to consult the Bible’s advice on making a good choice and on preparing yourself for the responsibilities of marriage. Are you a husband and family head? If so, you are sure to profit from the many fine Bible examples of men who were very successful in those roles. Are you a wife and mother? Granted, your duties are many, are they not? Nevertheless, the Bible will show you how to find joy as you cope with them and how to procure praise for yourself from an appreciative family. Or, perhaps you are that wonderful product of marital union, a child. What can you do to contribute toward an atmosphere of warmth and love in your home? Would you like to know? God’s inspired Word will tell you.
It is in God’s Word that you will find the answers to many of life’s problems, including family problems. Being the “happy God,” your Creator wants your family to be happy too. (1 Tim. 1:11; Prov. 2:6; 3:13, 18) As the following account shows, Jehovah’s Witnesses are always ready to help others to find that happiness, along with love, joy and peace.