What do Chip and Joanna Gaines and their latest home improvement series Fixer Upper have to do with “The Family: A Proclamation to the World“? More than you might think. We all like home improvement shows with really good before and after shots. We love seeing the worn-down, neglected or outdated homes turn into something beautiful and more functional after they’ve been reworked, refinished and rebuilt. Even the worst homes—the ones that you’d never think could be rehabilitated—can be made beautiful and more livable again.

If a good renovation can have that much of an impact on the look and feel of a home, think about the “before and afters” we could have if we renovated our home and family using just one paragraph of the family proclamation? What would our homes look like if we saw our eternal, covenant family relationships as the key to happiness in this life and the next? How would we learn, grow and bond with our family in the process?

In Paragraph 7 of “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” we learn that “happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Though a perfect home is never guaranteed and we all live in a “fixer upper” of sorts, a happy home serves as an oasis from the world. Even small changes can make a difference. And, if you think your current home life is beyond repair, it’s not. Here are two things you can do right now to fix up your home and family:

Renovate Your Home With Positivity and Joy

President Gordon B. Hinckley was known for his happy demeanor and positive outlook on life. He said, “In all of living, have much fun and laughter, life is to be enjoyed not just endured.” This advice helps us recognize the importance of creating an environment in our homes that is conducive to good hearted laughter and fun. It changes the entire feel of a home and lightens the mood. It may seem simple, but it’s amazing what humor can do.

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin was also known for his good sense of humor. During the October 2008 General Conference he shared this unforgettable story: 

“I remember when one of our daughters went on a blind date. She was all dressed up and waiting for her date to arrive when the doorbell rang. In walked a man who seemed a little old, but she tried to be polite. She introduced him to me and my wife and the other children; then she put on her coat and went out the door. We watched as she got into the car, but the car didn’t move. Eventually our daughter got out of the car and, red faced, ran back into the house. The man that she thought was her blind date had actually come to pick up another of our daughters who had agreed to be a babysitter for him and his wife.

We all had a good laugh over that. In fact, we couldn’t stop laughing. Later, when our daughter’s real blind date showed up, I couldn’t come out to meet him because I was still in the kitchen laughing. Now, I realize that our daughter could have felt humiliated and embarrassed. But she laughed with us, and as a result, we still laugh about it today.

The next time you’re tempted to groan, you might try to laugh instead. It will extend your life and make the lives of all those around you more enjoyable.”

Renovate Your Home to be More Centered on Christ

Our Savior, Jesus Christ, is the key to creating lasting, happy, and healthy family relationships. He is the master architect who can transform our homes into so much more than we ever thought possible. He is the ultimate ‘fixer upper’ for every home and family member in it.

Elder Richard J. Maynes taught, “As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we understand and believe in the eternal nature of the family. This understanding and belief should inspire us to do everything in our power to establish a Christ-centered home.” These words can give us the motivation to begin to renovate our home to be more centered on the Savior. We can list his help in knowing what walls to remove, what ones to open up, and where more light is needed.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught: “Ultimate happiness, true peace, and anything even remotely close to scriptural joy are found first, foremost, and forever in living the gospel of Jesus Christ.” When we establish Christ-centered homes, our family relationships will be, without question, happier and more fulfilling.

Many may feel their family and home situation is less than ideal. Start where you are and use the principles to take steps forward in whatever ways you can. It requires constant and intentional renovation, but with the Savior and the teachings of “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” by our side, any home and family can be transformed into something beautiful.

Does wholesome recreation actually lead to greater happiness in family life? Check out our ‘Raising Family’ podcast interview with Dr. Brian Hill, professor of Experience Design at Brigham Young University. He discusses the science behind successful family traditions and rituals and why they are essential for strong families.

Tune in to learn about the core and balance model of family recreation (3:20), the elements of a good tradition (8:02), and how God has set a divine example of family rituals (19:42). Strong family traditions and rituals help kids to feel safe, connected, and give us a sense of identity.

“As you think about the way that God teaches His children, you can see that He uses family rituals often. If God uses rituals to be closer to us, He must be anxious to get these outcomes in His eternal family.”

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