Honour Christ and put others first. Ephesians 5:21 (CEV).
Happiness in the home, for society at large, is tied to having a positive outlook, cultivating optimism and reducing stress. According to WebMD expert Denise Mann the “15 Secrets of Happy Families” includes swapping stories, playing together, putting family before friends, honouring rituals, open communications, being flexible, inside jokes, encouraging sibling harmony, keeping your voices down, limiting after school activities, eating dinner together, putting the marriage first, enjoying each other, and not working too much or fighting in front of the kids.
Happiness in the home shouldn’t be the ultimate goal for Christians. While some of the things listed above are helpful, the goal for the Christian should be to honour Christ in the home. This is essential. The Christian home should first and foremost be marked by a love for Christ and an unselfish desire to put others before ourselves (e.g. “husbands, love your wives” and “children, obey your parents” Ephesians 5:25, 6:1).
Changing gear … I’ve often wondered why the opening chapters of Ephesians, devoted as they are to the great themes of grace and faith in Christ, move to a climax featuring the home. Maybe it’s because God wants us to know that the home is the building block of society (i.e., the health of the home directly affects the wellbeing of society at large) and that it’s in our domestic lives that grace and faith in Christ should be exemplified.
So let’s make sure our priorities are God’s priorities. Let’s raise our children in the way of the Lord and treat those who serve us with respect (Ephesians 6:4, 9). For in so doing we honour Christ (Ephesians 5:21). And more, when we honour Christ in the home we get much more than happiness – we’re blessed with long life and rewards from the Lord (Ephesians 6:3, 8).