I am lucky enough to have two pairs of grandparents living and rocking it. Both couples have been together for over 50 years and they seem to know a thing or two about happy relationships. They managed to raise great kids and grandkids, succeed in their careers, and — most importantly —remain in love after all those years. They still care for each other, support each other, and value their families above all. Every time I visit them, I get inspired to have the same thing in my life.
I’ve asked my grandparents to share their secrets and combined their answers into this list. Read on to learn about the things you should do to have a happy family.
1. Learn something together
Learning new things is great as it is. Learning something with your family brings you closer and gives you the opportunity to spend quality and productive time together. You can attend introductory cooking classes, learn how to dance, draw, knit, sail — the opportunities go on and on. There are so many things you can learn while having fun with your loved ones.
2. Have fun and laugh
Having a good time with your family is priceless. There are so many things you can do together to have fun. Play board games once in a while, sing karaoke, watch funny movies, tell stories to each other, go bowling, play basketball, or enjoy countless other fun group activities.
3. Surprise each other
Nice little surprises are a great habit of a happy family. Kids can make their mom a cup of coffee from time to time. Parents can surprise their children with an unexpected trip to a theme park. Spouses can do nice small things for each other, such as cooking a romantic dinner, writing a love letter, or bringing home their partner’s favorite dessert in the evening.
4. Eat together
This doesn’t have to mean all the time. Forcing everyone in the family to drop all of their things and go the dining room twice a day is nonsense. If you can, have a dinner together every evening. This is your time to ask how everyone’s day was and discuss all the news and latest issues. If a daily dinner doesn’t work for everyone, at least try for twice a week. Sharing a meal with your family over a conversation is a great habit.
5. Have some time for yourself
Spending time with your family is great, but having time for yourself is also very important. Your husband can watch the kids while you read a book in peace and quiet. Your wife can be with the children while you watch a big game. Enjoying some alone time doesn’t make you a bad parent or spouse. Everyone needs it. Realizing and respecting that is the key to a happy family.
6. Talk to each other
Discussing problems, achievements, concerns, worries, and expectations is very important in a family. Take it as a rule to talk to your spouse and kids about everything. It will make you all closer and happier.
7. Have traditions
Creating your own family traditions is an amazing thing to do. Maybe that means eating pancakes every Sunday morning, going sledding after the year’s first snow, celebrating your anniversary in some special place, or bringing souvenirs from every trip. One of the greatest family traditions is to celebrate big holidays together, gathering all the relatives and feasting.
8. Say nice things
Feeling appreciated is one of the most important things in a happy family. All of the family members should say how much they appreciate each other, how great it is that they have each other, how much they love each other, and how grateful they are for everything they do for each other. Those easy words of appreciation can make a family much stronger. Hugs and kisses also do a great job.
Traveling with your family is a great habit to have. Seeing new things, visiting new places, and experiencing new emotions brings people closer together. Try to go on a big trip at least once a year. If you can, also go on some small trips once in a while. Visit your relatives in the next town, go to your lake house for a weekend, or go camping for a couple of days.
10. Love each other
It may sound obvious, but love is also a habit that you need to develop and train. Learn how to be patient when your kid breaks something, your husband doesn’t notice your new haircut, your wife doesn’t want to watch an action movie with you, or your parents forbid you to go out. Remember all of their good qualities, talk to them about your concerns, and be grateful that you have them.
Featured photo credit: Happy Xmas/Clint Chilcott via flickr.com