Ecclesiastes 9:9 Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which He has given you under the sun—all the days of vanity and futility. For this is your reward in life and in your work in which you have labored under the sun. (AMP)
While training to become a Christian counselor, one of our responsibilities was to help others find or increase their "joy" intake. We defined joy as "I am happy to be with you". Hmmm... Then joy in marriage seems like a no-brainer. Of course, we should have joy, a major part of the decision to marry is to secure joy. When a couple decides to marry, it is usually due to an abundance of joy. Every encounter they have seems to be filled with happiness, and that happiness keeps them moving forward together. Over the course of time, the trials and responsibilities of life eat away at the time they can spend enjoying their lives. That confidence in knowing their spouse is still happy being with them begins to fade. If left unchecked, those issues will continue to erode the joy, until there is none left.
One of the key complaints we hear in marriage is an absence of joy. How can we remedy that? We covered this briefly before in a previous post, so let's review. Simply put, be intentional about making time for the one you love. Again, our first example of this is Christ and His bride. How would it look if we just happened to read a scripture where Jesus put us on hold? It doesn't even sound right! It is downright out of character for God to "back burner" His own. Imagine going through a time in your life where you are feeling lost, alone, defeated, your emotional tank is on empty yet again, and all you can think about is how nice it would be if you and Jesus could just spend some time together. You finally get a chance to see Him and make your request known, and He says, "I'll see what I can do." That's it. Nothing else. Oh wait. He then goes back to watching what the rest of the world is up to on His mobile device and solving their issues. Now, just how long would that relationship last? Seems like the "little foxes" Solomon warned us about has already ruined the vineyard. (Song of Solomon 2:15)
Our word for this year is intentional. Be intentional and authentic. Meaning, make sure the amount and quality of time you spend together is sufficient for your relationship. Don't measure your quality time against another couple's outcome. If you couldn't afford the trip to Paris this year, well several planned weekends away from home to surrounding cities less than a couple of hours drive adds up! Try a "no phone" Saturday from midnight until midnight, complete with planned fun activities. Keep the dating phase going: Parents, keep a babysitter on speed dial or search for local PNOs (Parents Night Out) to give yourselves a child-free dinner, a movie, or both! The point is to fill up that slot of time with "value" no matter the duration. Remind your spouse that they ARE enough for you. It doesn't have to be conventional. It just needs to work for you!
Of course, this is not a one-time deal. A mere date night will not return you to the dizzying heights of joy you experienced when dating. This is a lifestyle change, a constant battle, an everyday realization of the value of your spouse. There may be many days that you will not see an immediate return on your effort. However, in your perseverance, there will be a reward. Eventually, you will seek to create joy in your marriage as a habit, habit being the key word here. Once this becomes routine, you will rediscover the joy you once had, and even find deeper springs of joy.
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Just a little birdy and fish about the Father's business. Helping to better the world one blog at a time.