7 Surprising Keys to Family Happiness

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Hugh DeBurgh of The Way of the Passionate Warrior.

You want a happy family. But, perhaps, you feel your dreams of family happiness slipping away? You are not alone. It makes you wonder, why is something so universally sought after so hard to achieve? Perhaps we are going about it the wrong way, or perhaps we are working at cross-purposes. You know, one step forward, two steps back?

The reality is that family happiness is not that hard to realize even in today’s stressful times. It just requires that you refocus your life by considering the following key steps:

KEY #1

Stop trying to live and start living.

No effort is required to have a happy family. So why are you working so hard? You can search to the ends of the earth, but you won’t find happiness there. You may find happy people and the healthy lifestyles that are conducive to happiness but there is no magic answer. You can work your butt off but you won’t help you achieve happiness. Happiness is not a prize to be won. Or wealth to be gained.

KEY #2

Make family happiness a real priority, not just words.

What you say, to yourself and others, doesn’t matter. It’s your focus, or lack of it, that counts. What do you focus on every day? The focus of your life should be consistent with your priorities. Is what you do everyday focused on your and your family’s happiness?

KEY #3

Stop thinking about what you want and live in the moment.

Happiness is not a theoretical future state it exists only in the Now. Right now you are probably thinking about what you can do to increase the level of happiness in your family and that’s good, but thinking isn’t going to do it. Not even action will bring happiness. The best way to begin your discovery of family happiness is to stop looking for it. You already have this pearl in your heart – you just may not realize it. You see, you don’t create happiness you discover that it is already yours and then you revel in it. To be a happy family is to share this wisdom and to live in the reveling, together.

KEY #4

Take a few moments and focus on a family member that you want to be closer to.

Grace them with your undivided attention. Honor their personal space, but give full attention to what matters to them at that moment, even if it matters not a bit to you. By doing this, you share the happiness inside yourself, and they share theirs. It is the most intimate experience that you can achieve.

KEY #5

Reorganize your life’s schedule to reflect the importance of family to you.

Time is the most precious resource that you have, and it’s strictly limited. Spend as much of that time with your family as they are a priority in your life. And when I say spend time with your family, I don’t just mean being in the same room. I mean sharing intimacy that is happiness.

KEY #6

Know that you cannot buy a happy family.

As much as you want to provide for your family, oftentimes your energies would be better served by simply being with them, rather than doing things for them. The greatest gift you can give your family is your undivided attention. They don’t need toys or jewelry. They need you.

Key #7

Simplify your life.

Eliminate complexity. Drop resentments and old grudges. Focus on what you want now. Remember Key #3 the past is no longer real and the future never will be. If you want a happy family life, share that happiness that is within yourself, and do it right now. Clutter in your life just serves to cloud your focus. To fully experience your happiness within, you need to focus on it with clarity. Make sure that your attention is not divided.

I hope that this article helps you to discover the happiness within you, and to share that happiness with your family, and others, without distraction. That is the true key to family happiness.

All the best,


Read more from Hugh at his blog, The Way of the Passionate Warrior, or subscribe to his feed.

20 Responses to “7 Surprising Keys to Family Happiness”

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  1. Matt says:

    i know you think this is cheesy but take a look anyway!

  2. serine says:


  3. deb p says:

    I love this and am doing the best I can to embrace my situation. It’s the simplifying that is the hardest. I’m trying to get all those todo’s “off my plate” that are taking time away from my family… but that takes time away from my family. I’m on the home stretch of releasing a couple of big tasks, and then I need to relearn how to just “be” with my children again. I can’t wait! Meanwhile I’m embracing my current situation as best I can, and trying not to disappoint my kiddos as often with “mommy’s busy right now”.

    Next step is to simplify our house! I truly can’t wait to tackle that one! I’m one who does better with tackling a project from start to finish with gusto, except with a project this massive I’m pretty sure I would run out of steam before the end. I’m psyching myself up to tackle this project in chunks, while allowing family time to take priority.

    I think the thing I get hung up on the most when purging is thinking… I might really love this if it was displayed correctly, but I don’t know what that “way” is. I know… “purge it”!

    I find myself thinking the same things about clothes. I think this could look great on me, if only I knew how to wear it and what to wear it with. If I purged my closet of all the things I don’t love and/or that don’t fit, I really believe I would have almost nothing left. I know there are things out there that could/would fit better, but I don’t have the resources (time or money) to go get them.

    I’m ready to embrace a simpler lifestyle, and spend more time with my kiddos & hubby, so I know I can work it all out. This post is very motivating indeed!

  4. Hugh DeBurgh says:

    Thanks Matt and Serene for your comments!

    Deb – You sound to me to be well on your way to simplifying your life.

    I know that’s it can be tough to get rid of all of that stuff. I’ve done it many times. And there always seems to be more! Sometimes when cleaning house you come upon something that you still think is kinda cool, but you know you’ll probably never get around to doing anything with it.

    The way I deal with that is not to say goodbye to that object, but rather, “See ya!.”

    I don’t need to own something forever to enjoy it someday. Perhaps, when your priorities have changed, you will revisit the interest surrounding the object, and the memories and feelings that it brought up for you. It is rare that we feel forced to surrender one-of-a-kind things for the sake of simplifying our lives, so it’s probably something that you can purchase again someday.

    Make a note of the stuff that you feel conflicted about getting rid of. And also note how you imagine you could have experienced that object. And with whom. If this is something that could be done later on in your life, and it still is not important enough today to merit keeping it, then let it go. Someday the opportunity to revisit that interest may indeed arise.

    So don’t mourn the loss of the object. Celebrate the discovery and anticipation of an experience yet to be!

    I do this all the time. Then I let the object go. Often I donate it, so that others might enjoy it while I am busy with more imminent priorities. Maybe someday that same object will find its way back to me at just the moment I need it most?

    As you grow in age and wisdom, you will be more comfortable and knowledgeable about the things that most interest you. Like decorating yourself and your home. If this is an interest of yours that continues with time, you may choose to pursue it further.

    We are all pulled in a thousand directions everyday. Sometimes we are being pulled by our own myriad of interests. If you cannot pursue those interests just now, or you choose to put off the pursuit of certain interests because you have more timely concerns (your growing children), remember that kids grow up. Quite quickly, in fact.

    It is impossible to do everything at once. But it is not impossible to do everything that you desire. Someday.

    I like to say that you can have anything you want in the world, as long as you don’t have to have it all at the same time.

    Enjoy your family. And remember your other interests. They are simply joys yet to be realized.

    All the best,


  5. Wow! Tip #4 really resonated with me. I like the idea of focusing on one person in your family at a time, and giving them your full attention. We are so hurried these days, running around so much, that we hardly make eye-contact with our kids and our spouses. These tips are a great reminder of how simple it really is to find some happiness.

    Angelica @ Modern Familia

  6. Jennifer says:

    Thank you! A good reminder to get off the computer!

  7. Angelica -

    I love Tip # 4 too. And I use it all of the time.

    I find that, with four young kids and a busy life, just the idea of spending time with everyone can be overwhelming. Where do you start?

    And spending time with the family as a group is a very different experience from spending intimate time with each family member as an individual.

    Choosing to spend just a little intimate time every day with each child, and with your partner, is better than spending all day with the family as a group.

    They don’t need you every minute. They just need to be acknowledged, and they need all of you in their personal comfort zone for just a few moments.

    This is where real personal intimacy happens.

    Thanks so much for your comment! :-)

    All the best,


  8. Jennifer -

    Thanks for your comment! :-)

    I guess we are all computer people here!

    The cool thing is that we DO have time for a life, and for some peace and quiet (if we can find it!) and we can still have real intimacy with our loved ones.

    The secret is quality over quantity. Focus on what matters. Make it a priority. Keep it simple. And then relax and enjoy!

    Thanks again!


  9. Deb says:

    this post was really great (as usual) but it also made me think…. i sadly didnt grow up with a focus on family… family was never a priority – and to me, my friends were always my family (and still are). Can you maybe do some posts about how to re-train our thinking so that we can teach our children how important family is, when we didnt grow up with it ourselves?

  10. Heather Von St James says:

    Hi, I have a question. Please email me when you get a moment.

  11. SKN says:

    Good article.

    And here is my share for happiness. Its something I have read somewhere and found it very useful.

    Its usually high expectations that lead to disappoints and hence unhappiness. When you love, love with all your heart never expecting anything in return. And thats the key to a happiness rich life. Everything else will follow.

    Where true happiness exists, there is no room for negative thoughts or emotions. It is true for everyone.

    Life is very short. It will run out soon. God has provided us abundance of happiness. We have to show our appreciation to God for giving us this wonderful life by being happy.

    Happiness, like laughter is contagious. You will be doing a great service to your family and to the world by being happy.

    And dont compare. Dont compare your life with others. Everyone is blessed in someway.

    Happiness is not something that anyone can give you. The more you give it out, the more your radiate, it will come back to you many times amplified.

    If these good thoughts makes you happy, it will make your family happy too. Share it if you like it. For the world needs happiness more than ever.

    And share it with children. Good adults a made from happy children.

    Have a nice day.


  12. Joha says:

    The consumer eooncmy of the united states is dead as of Sept 2008!How is consumerism helping the average Egyptian who is drinking sewage water. I can not fathom why would owning a dvd drive be your measure of happiness or success, while your organs are being destroyed by the poisoned water, food and air resulting from the sada7 mada7 consumer eooncmy of Egypt.

  13. twinkle says:

    Your style is so unique in comparison to other folks I have
    read stuff from. I appreciate you for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark this site.


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