A 2009 article in the New Yorker said, “Most people assume that parenting will make them happier. Yet a wide variety of academic research shows this is not true. Perhaps the most oft-cited datum comes from a 2004 study by Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Prize-winning behavioral economist, who found that taking care of children ranked sixteenth out of nineteen total pleasurable activities. This result also shows up regularly in relationship research, with children invariably reducing marital satisfaction. The economist Andrew Oswald who has compared tens of thousands of Britons has a comprehensive study that shows the more children you have, the less happy you are. As a rule, most studies show that mothers are less happy than fathers, that single parents are less happy still, that babies and toddlers are the hardest, and that each successive child produces diminishing returns. Additionally, over half the arguments married couples have are about the kids.”
Those are some tough words. Maybe if we put our family’s happiness before our own, we will ultimately have a more joy-filled life. Are you truly happier as a person after having children? Or you are contemplating leaving your wife and children because your life is so unhappy right now? Consider this: Studies show your sadness will increase if you leave. The only way to make your life happier is to bloom where you are planted. Maybe if we put our family’s happiness before our own, we will ultimately have a more joy-filled life. Here is how to find happiness as a family man.
1. Leave work at work.
When you walk off your job site, consider this to be a time you take off work and you put on family. Spend more time talking about family and less about work when at home.
2. Schedule regular time for physical fitness.
Building fitness time into our schedules helps us to relieve stress, thus we do not take it out on the family. Thirty minutes a day helps you mentally and physically be a better person.
3. Understand and practice each family member’s love language.
Each family member needs to have their love tanks filled differently. Determine what language each member speaks and then put it into practice. The languages are gifts, physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, and quality time. When everybody’s “banks” are full, family life is great.
4. Do something fun with your spouse every week.
This is your most important relationship. Carving out time to spend with your wife doing something fun is a really wise investment.
5. Do something fun with each of your kids weekly or monthly.
In order to prevent tension with your children, try to do something fun with them every week. This one step will make your bond with them stronger.
6. Schedule regular family vacations.
Regularly sit down as a family and plan where and what you want to do to get away from everyday stressors. Every family member should have input.
If serving others brings much joy to an individual, just imagine what it can do for the entire family. Pick places to volunteer as a family and watch what joy this will bring everyone.
8. Follow a family budget.
Build a family budget and stick to it. When families follow a budget, the home tends to be happier because there are less arguments over money.
9. Read regularly with family.
Pick great family books to read and discuss together.
10. Play with family weekly.
Families that play together (tag, hide and seek, kickball, board games, or other favorites), stay together. Spending at least an hour together playing every week will help make your life as a family man happier.
Earn some points: Are you married? If so, share this iMOM article with your wife: 10 Habits Happy Women Share.
Sound off: What do you love most about being a dad and/or husband?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What do you love most about our family?”