‘And they lived happily ever after’. Though it’s a line from a fairy tale, isn’t this what we all wish for as we leap into this next chapter of life called marriage? We may find ourselves on our way to this happy ending, specially when we feel that we’ve found “the one who makes me happy”. Not to burst anyone’s bubble, but just for a bit of a reality check, it’s likely that there may be times when that one person will make you unhappy too. But fret not, because there is such a thing as finding joy in marriage.
So, how do we go about finding joy in marriage? We asked for tips from happy couple Ninay and JQ Quimpang. Ninay’s an HR practicioner while JQ is an events host and inspirational speaker. People around them know them to be a fun-loving couple. Married for 8 years, having passed the so-called 7-year-itch,
Here are Ninay & JQ’s actionable tips on finding joy in marriage.
1. In everything you do, keep your love tank full.
“There is joy in loving, in giving. You cannot give what you do not have”.
This is based on Gary Chapman’s premise on the 5 Love Languages. While there are different kinds of love, there is a kind of love that is essential to our emotional health, and that is the need to feel loved.
Here, he quotes Dr. Ross Campbell on the concept of the love tank.
“Inside every child is an ‘emotional tank’ waiting to be filled with love. When a child really feels loved, he will develop normally, but when the love tank is empty, the child will misbehave. Much of the misbehavior of children is motivated by the cravings of an empty ‘love tank.’”
Guess what? even adults need their love tank filled. That includes you and your spouse. Here’s a little chart we found on the 5 love languages and what you and your spouse can do to fill your love tank through it. But first you must each know what your main love languages are.
2. Make your marriage a daily personal decision.
As with love, marriage is a choice, a personal choice. It’s one you must choose to make every single day. Be conscious of this and take it to heart.
“You made a vow to each other during the wedding rights. Everyday is a renewal of marriage vows – for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, etc”
Finding joy in marriage is in reminding yourself of that decision you made for marriage.
3. Remember that you are God’s gift to each other.
And what do you do with such a special gift?
“Value your spouse as if he or she is your priceless treasure”
4. Always start & end your day with a grateful heart.
“Every gising is a blessing! When you wake up each morning, thank the Lord. Wake up smiling. Everyday, you begin by counting your blessings and end with how you become a simple joy to others”.
Fill your heart with gratitude and you’ll find yourself waking up and sleeping with a smile on your face. Won’t that make your spouse’s day to wake up & sleep next to a genuinely smiling face? Take a few seconds to pause and think of the blessings of each day. If you can’t think of anyting, be thankful for your spouse! — or be thankful for your spouse that he/she has you!
5. Discover your “Sweet Spot”.
And it doesn’t only mean each other’s sweet spot individually, but also your sweet spot as a couple. Finding joy in marriage can literally be about finding joyful things to do together as a couple.
“Find something you have in common and grow together doing those things again & again.”
6. Encourage one another.
“Always have faith in each other. Be your spouses #1 Fan. Don’t give up on each other.”
You’ll be stuck with each other 24/7 — well, every day at least — if not in body, in spirit. You know each others’ hopes, fears & dreams. Only you can have the greatest impact in supporting & encouraging your spouse. Take every chance to do it and show it. Even if it isn’t so, support each other as if you only had each other. You are, after all, now that one new complementary whole.
7. Trust in God’s plan.
“Whatever it takes! We will come everything through prayers”
There are things you can control, there are things you can’t – not even your amazing spouse can do everything. Well thought out plans might not follow through or at least not in the way you want. But as you do all you can as a couple to plan and prepare, there will always be a better plan. And it’s all in God’s hands.
Prayers do wonders. Overcoming everything through prayers doesn’t necessarily mean your prayers will be answered. But the case may also be that it’s in your prayers that you will find the answers. Remember, prayer is a two-way dialogue. In this case, three way when you pray together with your spouse – which is a very beautiful thing to do.
8. Prioritize your personal relationship with God above else.
When you get married, your spouse will now have priority over your family, friends, relatives, work. But above anything else, even above your spouse, you must always put God.
Something to think about: Who makes you whole? Is it your spouse or is it God? God brought you to your spouse not to complete you but to complement you; two ‘wholes’ shaped in a certain way to fit together to make a totally new whole.
“Always hold on to the fact that it is God who made you whole, even before entering married life.”
When you think about it, since you will be marrying the one that you love, finding joy in marriage might not be that difficult. In a nutshell, it shoudn’t be too difficult if you both put God first, have a grateful heart, choose to love each other daily and be each other’s number one champion & advocate. There will just be times that we might get caught up with the day to day drearies of ‘adulting’ responsibilities. So it’s good to check on ourselves as individuals and as a couple on how we’re doing with these 8 tips should we find ourselves losing grasp of finding joy in our marriage.
Married life is a wonderful ride. Happily ever after doesn’t have to be so elusive when times come that you seem to lose sight of it. A whole lot of love and a little bit of effort could be all you need to keep you both along your jolly way.