Because I have only been married for just under 2 years and have only been a mother just short of 9 months, many people would argue that I don't have enough "experience" to write about a topic like this one. But even in the short amount of time that my little family has been together, Andrew and I have noticed a difference in our home life and other people's home life. Andrew and I talk often about what we are doing wrong in our lives and how we can fix it. Here are a few of the conclusions we have come to concerning happiness in our home.
1. STOP THE YELLING
Right after we were married, Andrew gave me a seemingly impossible goal to have as a married couple and as parents. He wanted there to be no yelling in the home. I won't lie to you, all I could think was, "Yeah right...". He went on to explain that he remembers growing up in a home where his father never yelled. He said that all it took from his dad for Andrew to know he was in trouble was "the look". Yelling was never necessary.
As our married life continued, I noticed that if there ever was a time during an argument where one of us would yell, the Spirit of the Lord would withdraw from our home quicker than I've ever felt in my life. A talk from Lynn G. Robbins states:
The biggest thing I have learned in marriage is that emotions are 100% controllable. You can't choose what happens, but you can ALWAYS choose how you react to what happens.
2. TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF
Besides Andrew going to school, another big reason we moved back to Georgia was so I could have support and not be home alone with Oliver all day while Andrew worked. Parents, especially stay at home moms, need to give themselves time to relax from the day's worries. If you go 90 to nothing all day long, how short is your fuse by the end of the day? I talk to a babbling baby almost the entire day long. I also know if I don't get at least a 15 minute respite from all the chaos of being a mommy, I'll start babbling just like my child.
Parents also need to take the time to date often. Sometimes it feels like all Andrew and I talk about is the stuff that's going on right then. "Oliver needs to be changed", "We need to do laundry", "We need to talk about finances", yatta, yatta, yatta. Date often so you can remember why you married such a special person. Date to remember how much fun it can be to just have fun together. People who date their spouses always have happier marriages.
(Photography by Tayli Stowers)
3. LOVE YOUR SPOUSE
One thing I remember growing up was my parents always giving each other little smooches while they cooked together (and me and my brothers going eeewww!!!). But never once have I doubted that my parents loved each other because of little acts like this. Also because of their love for each other, I have never once doubted their love for me. With the divorce rates skyrocketing at scary heights, spouses can never lose anything by loving each other a little more.
(Photography by Tayli Stowers)
One thing we can do, especially women, to love our spouses more is to never ever NEVER talk about marital problems with anyone outside of the marriage. It is much easier for you to forgive your spouse for a wrong doing than it is for your sister, mother, or friend to. If you truly love your spouse, you would never want to hurt or embarrass them.
4. BE WEIRD!
Yes, you read that right! BE WEIRD! How sad is a home where you can't find sanctuary from the world to just be yourself? If your children can't be themselves at home, they will find other places where they can fully be themselves. In my family we do weird. We do funny. We do silly.
(like this picture, we can't even explain our own weirdness sometimes)
Now I understand there is a line of appropriateness in all things, but don't be grumpy about humor! I live in a home with a nurse and a soon-to-be nurse, so our weird thing is that we think farts are hilarious. We love embarrassing fart stories! I tell Andrew all the time that I couldn't have married someone that didn't have a sense a humor for farts.
Your family doesn't have to find farts funny, but whatever your family does enjoy that's just a little off-beat than the rest of us, you should embrace it. A home where everyone can laugh and truly be themselves 24/7 is definitely a happy home.
5. MAKE GOD THE HEAD OF YOUR HOME
In the Mormon religion, we believe that the first and greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart, mind, and strength. We also believe that the true key to happiness is a life of fully embracing the Gospel of Christ. Through Him, all our shortfalls can be forgiven and fixed, and we can live happily together in our families for all time and eternity. We believe that marriages and families are not limited to the time we have here on Earth. If that is so, wouldn't it make sense to try and have the happiest home we can now to prepare for the eternities to come?
With Christ, our homes can be the closest thing to Heaven on this Earth. I, for one, cannot think of a more worthy goal than to provide my child with a home that is a little piece of Heaven.
There is so many more points I could talk about to make homes happier, but these few things can never be worked on enough! I hope that we can all find ourselves smiling a little bit more with our families today!