Martha Washington showed great insight on what it takes to build a happy home. She maintained, “The greatest part of our happiness depends on our dispositions, not our circumstance.” And she was right.
Did you know that whether or not your home is a happy one largely depends on… you?
As wives and mothers, we have the power to transform our homes from what might have been a vortex of negativity and darkness and despair into a refuge of joy and radiance and hope. Shouldn’t we be using that power for good?
The answer is yes. Yes, we should.
Our outlook on life has a profound effect not only on our own happiness, but on the happiness of our husband and children, as well. We have a duty to our families to maintain as cheerful an outlook as possible. We do our loved ones a grave disservice when we cultivate a perpetually sad or sour disposition.
Such a disposition has little to do with life circumstances, and everything to do with choice, for as Abraham Lincoln once noted, “most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
When I say that wives should “choose joy,” I am not suggesting that we be dishonest, “fake,” or insincere. Being joyful is not about smiling on the outside when we are shattered on the inside. It is not about pretending that life is hunky-dory when serious problems exist and we need help.
Choosing joy is not about putting on a show for another person’s sake. It is about changing the way we look at things — for our own sake.
Being joyful is not about repressing feelings, but about attacking negativism at the root — in our heart and mind and attitudes. It is about being selective in our thoughts.
In every circumstance in life, there can be found something good, as well as something bad. Being joyful is about choosing to dwell on the good instead of on the bad. It’s about being grateful for what we have instead of upset over what we don’t.
That Scripture repeatedly urges us to rejoice implies that joy is indeed a choice:
- “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)
- “Always be joyful.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16, NLT)
- “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” (James 1:2-3)
This sort of constant, abiding joy has at its root an outward rather than an inward focus. It asks not, “What can others do to make me happy,” but “what can I do to make others happy?” Personal happiness is seldom the result of the former mindset, but it is a natural byproduct of the latter.
Showing kindness to others and doing things to bring happiness to those around us is one of the surest ways to find happiness ourselves.
As Helen Keller so wisely observed, “Happiness cannot come from without. It must come from within. It is not what we see and touch or that which others do for us which makes us happy; it is that which we think and feel and do, first for the other fellow and then for ourselves.”
You want a happy home? Want to live happily ever after with your spouse? It’s never to late to begin. The choice is yours. Choose joy.
More Biblically Sound Marriage Tips
The Word of God is full of wisdom for every facet of life, but we’ve found it especially helpful in building a happy, healthy marriage. For a fascinating look at how science has confirmed the superiority of God’s design, check out my book Love Your Husband, Love Yourself.