John Boakye: How to build a happy family

BY: Samuel K. Obour

Life in Ghana is hard. Economic pressures and social demands appear to compromise our roles in our relationships.  Today, it is common to find partners hardly seeing each other at home. They have houses but not homes. They have lives but little family values.  

Some have no time for their children. These children are left to do what pleases them, making them prone to behavioural problems. Your family is extremely important to you, your community and humanity. It is, therefore, important you make time to build a happy family.

How to build a family life

Prioritise. Your marriage and family must be your greatest investment and, therefore, topmost priority. Your family must, therefore, come ahead of your business or social engagements. 

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Your spouse must be the most important person in your life. Some marriage experts describe anything you put ahead of your family as an extra-marital affair.

Set goals together. Plan together to enhance your financial, spiritual, mental, social and physical development. Be there for each other in sickness and in heath, in  good times and bad. In this situation, your family can shield itself against outside intrusion such as friends and in-laws. Without mutual agreement; you fail to plan and plan to fail. 

Families doing things independent of each other always create conflicts and competition. It is important that Ghanaian men make room for input in making decisions affecting finance and long visits by family members.

Resolve conflicts. There are conflicts in all families. It is how we handle conflicts that determine the health of our family. People with good family values resolve conflicts internally without third parties. Keep secrets within your family. 

You must also learn to forgive each other. Forgiveness is an act of obedience from our maker. As you forgive your lover, you heal yourself and receive blessing from our Maker who forgives us unconditionally.  

Be best friends. Family members must make time to talk about their relationship and not children and work.  Unfortunately, most Ghanaians are emotionally detached. After work, many husbands would rather spend time with friends. 

Enjoy being together and doing things you enjoy. Be at ease with each other and feel safe and comfortable with family members. Provide shoulders for your family members to lean and develop. 

Friendship is especially important to women who need quality time to express themselves freely with their loved ones to fulfil their emotional needs. 

Studies show that women in rich friendship enjoy better health, longer life and less prone to mental disorders. 

Family members must create an environment that makes family members coming home after school or work as a great home coming.

Eat together. Eating has become irregular in many homes. Experts advise that families enjoy at least one meal a day together. 

This gives warm communication and family bonding as family members share thoughts, plans, likes, dislikes and events of the day.

Celebrate your family. When was the last time you and your family members went out for a social event or just to talk?  In many Ghanaian homes, the man is always out, and the woman always in to take care of home and children. We must go out often and exchange gifts.  

We must be there for each other.  Families celebrated grow in strength. Your family life can grow with small effort like a walk or watching T.V. together.

Pray together.  Research shows that even in the midst of very common breakdown in marriages, only one in 1,200 couples who have counseling, marry in church and pray together suffers divorce. 

A family that prays together stays together. As you pray together, you set a deep intimacy as one flesh.  Praying together creates unity and love. 

We protect the things we value. Our families must be our life’s greatest treasure. We must never devalue our family life. Instead we must save guard our families by setting goals that enhance its development. 

We must always sustain our sense of belonging to our unique families which are part of our Maker’s great family.

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The writer is the Director of Eudoo Counselling Centre, West Legon. He is also the author of ‘Your Guide to Marriage’ and ‘Love Unlimited’.