There’s some negative beliefs about marriage that even Christians can believe. In fact, when I was engaged to be married I heard plenty of tales of how we’re happy now but that our happiness would end one day. I’ve shared in other places that I believe marriage is to make us both holier and happier. Today, the focus will be on the happier part.
And, if you’re already in a happy marriage you’ll still find this article helpful.
Part of having a truly happy marriage is having a marriage that honors God. There are plenty of way to do just that. Here are three ways to honor God with your marriage and feel happier because of it.
I used to know this girl that had experienced some pretty bad relationships and some sexual abuse in her past. She worked hard to “work through” all of that. She was in therapy for a couple of years, journaled pretty consistently, spent more hours in prayer than could be counted and shed even more tears than that as she worked tirelessly on trying to get to a place of sanity.
She had finally come to the place where she felt as though her past no longer had a hold on her. She could admit that she’d had some bad relationships but was also able to acknowledge that good relationships could exist and she was actually able to have one herself. Not gonna lie, I was pretty proud of her. It wasn’t long after walking into this place of healing that she met and fell in love with the man who is now her husband. The cool part of this story is that if you ask either one of them, they’ll tell you that they have a solid marriage, they’re happy, and they love each other. Sounds like a fairy tale love story doesn’t it?
Not really. Not if you know about the pain that was involved in the first year of marriage. In fact, from her perspective, their first year of marriage was quite often filled with needless arguments, shame from her past, guilt at not being a “good wife,” pretty consistent anger at her husband, and a palpable fear that her marriage was just one more example of a relationship she couldn’t do well.
I’m a huge fan of marriage. When done well, marriage gives us lessons about God, his grace, and how to be more Christ-like. Not only that, it can be a lot of fun to travel this journey of life with another person.
Here are five ways to do marriage well and feel more intimate with one another.
#1: Play together We generally think of children when we hear the words “play date,” but adults can actually enjoy play time as well. When was the last time that you and your spouse went on a date (or hung out around the house) and just laughed together or got a little silly?
Play is defined simply as “engaging in an activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.” And one sure way to know that you’re playing is you find yourselves laughing together and enjoying the moment. By the way, couples who laugh together feel happier about their marriage. Laughter really is good and healthy for your relationship.
Okay, maybe I would actually need a warning if it was a political post. I’m actually just using a political example as a starting point…
I watched a video last night where supporters of a particular candidate were read statements that they thought he had said (Hitler actually said them) and the supporters rallied behind these statements. Now I know how the media works here. Good video footage means showing the handful of people that look foolish because the video is more likely to go viral. This one did not disappoint.
In the video, the interviewer tells a guy that the statements are actually from Hitler and asks the guy if he still supports the statements. The guy responds, “I don’t support Hitler. But if Trump said it then I support the statements.”
The video is really supposed to point out how people blindly follow some of the candidates without using critical thinking to determine who should get their vote. But, the reality is that there is something about the human condition that causes us to rally behind some people and not others; to see tons of positive characteristics when others see none, or the opposite, to see all the bad and not the good.
Ever heard of the halo effect? The halo effect is a psychological principle that says we are likely to see someone as all good or all bad. We have a hard time seeing that a person can have both good and bad characteristics. This concept was discovered by Thorndike back in the 20’s when he saw correlations between a soldier’s physique and intelligence when rated by others. If the soldier looked more fit, he was also observed by others to be smarter. In psychological research, there are several studies to show that we believe things about someone’s character based on the outer appearance of the person.
And how does this tie into marriage? Even in marriage we can get wrapped up in the halo effect. In fact, prior to getting married many couples have a hard time seeing the “bad” characteristics or qualities in their soon to be spouse. They really believe that their marriage will not be as hard as others they’ve seen, they won’t disagree as often as other couples, they’ll not go through times when they feel distant from one another…
Last month I shared my reading list with you. Just thought I’d share my February list as well. I’m always up for hearing about any books you’re reading.
#1. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion I admit that I don’t take time to read novels all that often. This particular one was a great choice, though. This is the love story of Don (a man with autism) and the completely unconventional Rosie. It’s told from Don’s perspective. If you know someone with autism, you’ll find this book a great comic relief with just the right touch of emotional pull. Just a warning – this is not a “Christian” book. It has some cussing and one of the characters sleeps around a lot. But, if that is not too off putting, check it out because it really is a great book that produced no other result but entertainment. A win!