The Key to Happiness for You & Your Family
Robert Waldinger and Marc Schulz authored a book entitled The Good Life: Lessons From the World’s Longest Scientific Study of Happiness. One of the authors (Waldinger) is the current director of the ongoing and longest-running study on happiness being conducted at Harvard. The study has been gathering data since the 1930’s. Throughout this study, one thing has continuously shown to “demonstrate its broad and enduring importance” to happiness. What is it? Good relationships. It’s true. Relationships contribute to happiness more than achievement, money, or health. We are a people designed for relationships. Healthy relationships make us happy. So, if you want to be happier, nurture your relationships.
I suggest that you start by nurturing a healthy relationship with your spouse. Invest in your marriage. You can nurture your marriage by:
- Looking for and telling your spouse things you adore and admire about them.
- Talking about your day with your spouse.
- Expressing gratitude to your spouse for all they do for you, your family, and your home.
- Sharing a hug and a kiss every time you separate and reunite…and sometimes just because you love them.
- Accepting influence from your spouse. Men, be the leader in accepting influence (AKA-submission) in your family.
- Going on a date, even if it’s a “stay-at-home date” (sometimes they’re the best).
- Praying for one another.
Invest in your relationship with your children as well.
- Make the time to engage your children every day. You might engage them in a conversation or in a game. However you choose to do it, make time for your children every day.
- Be curious about their interests and dreams. Nurture and support those interests.
- Learn about the friends in your children’s lives. Also learn about those peers who grieve them somehow.
- Share appropriate physical affection with your children.
- Let your children live their dreams. In fact, support and encourage those dreams.
- Pray for your children.
Invest in your relationship with your parents.
- Enjoy time with your parents. Visit them. Talk with them on the phone.
- Share your dreams for the future with your parents.
- Listen to their stories of the past…and learn from those stories.
- Give your parents a hug.
- Pray for your parents.
Your spouse and your family cannot provide all the relationships you need. Invest in your relationships with friends.
- Make time to get together with friends.
- Go on double dates.
- Get your families together.
Relationships are the spice of life…and they begin in the family. Nurture your relationships to nurture your happiness. And, when you start in the home, you’re also nurturing the happiness of your spouse and your children.