Marriage Secrets: Choosing Joy for a Better Marriage
"Each spouse is only a few righteous choices away from a much better marriage."
This is one of the key tenets I teach in any marriage class -- this idea that if just one spouse chooses to do positive things in the marriage, it can turn the relationship around. My thought is, "Why not me?"
To bring about positive change in your marriage, remind yourself, "If I keep doing what I've always done, then I will keep getting what I have always gotten." As one of the partners in the marriage, you can decide to do one of two things:
Add something that you are not doing to build the marriage in a positive direction.
Eliminate something you are doing that causes problems in the marriage.
Sometimes the most beneficial thing is to stop doing a certain habit or behavior, while other times the best thing is to begin doing something or behaving in a certain way. In addition, you can do what the Bible encourages us to do, something entirely unexpected, whenever we are faced with circumstantial or relational challenges -- choose joy.
James 1:2-4 tells us to:
"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."
The idea in this passage moves in a number of different directions, but let me explain just one of them.
When it comes to people, we are often quick to notice what is wrong, what could be improved, what needs to change, what isn't the way we would prefer it, and so on. These are trials, tests, and even temptations to us. Instead of fighting all of these things, which cause conflict and strife, God is asking us to find the joy in these situations and relationships, and even the joy that the difficulty is specifically pointing out.
God has been impressing on me in a number of areas of my life to choose joy instead of letting circumstances and people get me down. He has been pointing out that there are a number of things that I cannot change; a number of things where no one wants my opinion; a number of things where my preferences won't ever be considered, and so on. Instead of focusing on those negative things, He wants me to focus on what is positive, good, and encouraging. I have to say that as I have begun to focus on the positives, my "joy meter" has gone through the roof! I take great joy in doing things I haven't been able to do in a long time, like getting to have a meeting with a great person; getting to write this article that will help a lot of people. I get to have a nice lunch or take a walk. I consider the other negative stuff the "manure" that is on the floor of my life, and no one wants me to take the time to clean it up. I can rise above the manure and just choose to embrace the joy in all things.
In terms of your marriage, you can choose to add joy to the relationship by focusing on what is positive, encouraging, good, and helpful about the other person in the relationship. Sure, there are many things that your spouse does not do perfectly, or mistake-free, or even attempt to do. But what they need you to do is to focus on what is positive, encouraging, and good in their life and your relationship.
I ask you to choose joy in your marriage and all relationships today. Trust me. You will feel much better, and I think you will find this one righteous choice will pay huge dividends.
I would love to hear from you and your experience with experiencing joy. Feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, your greatest life is just ahead.
In His service,
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The Fruit of the Spirit explained simply and with relevance for today.
Dr. Gil Stieglitz helps Christians understand how to develop a Spirit-led life based on the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. See what God is asking from you when He tells you to "be loving" or "practice joy" or "be peaceful," and so on to the people in your life. Get ready to experience life change, deeper relationships, greater success, and more joy. You won't want to miss this one!This book comes with video commentaries that accompany each chapter, easily accessible from your smart phone or electronic device.