Marriage is tough.
I’m sure you heard that before. It seemed like for every congratulations I heard about our engagement, someone else would remind me just how tough marriage can be. It drove me crazy to listen to all the negativity, but I’ll be honest, I wondered why so many people I knew were admonishing us that things would change and we should expect a bumpy road ahead.
After being married for a few years now, with a fair share or good and bad days, I think I’ve identified the problem. The minutia of everyday life tends to wear people down, and when you are married, your energy tends to rub off on the other person. Things are fine, but there are less excitement and fireworks, and you’re left trying to figure out how and why those joyous moments disappeared. Even worse, you don’t know when or if they’ll come back.
Here’s the truth: Joy doesn’t just appear. You need to invite joy into your marriage. It’s an active thing. Just as you can’t sit back and wait for your perfect partner to come knocking on your door, you can’t expect joy to just show up and do the work for you. However, when things feel downright dull, or even unhappy, try one of these suggestions to bring those moments of joy back into your relationship.
Help Each Other With Little Tasks
The chores of life are overwhelming and resentment often builds up if one person thinks they are doing more work than the other. So, what happens when you actively tackle one item on your to do list at the very same time? One way my husband and I like to help each other out is by folding laundry together. It’s a chore that neither of us enjoys doing, but when we work as a team, we finish it quickly, leaving us more time to spend enjoying each other’s company. If you’re still miserable while doing the chores, do it with the music blasting or while watching a movie together.
If it’s been awhile since you laughed together, it’s time to get silly. Tell jokes. Play games. Watch a funny movie. Encourage inside jokes. Joy also comes from taking a moment to laugh at mistakes, and not just your partner’s. What silly mistakes have you made lately? Allow some time for giggles or deep belly laughs.
Revisit The Past
If you’re feeling stuck and not sure how to get out of your rut, stop worrying about the present and take a stroll down memory lane. Pull out your wedding album. Take down the memory box with all the tokens from before you were married and sort through them. Make a list together of your favorite vacations or the best concerts you’ve attended.
If it’s been a long time since your last date night, schedule one. If you can’t get away from home because you have little children and no babysitter, plan a date in your own backyard or living room. To feel the joy in your marriage, you need to dedicate space for togetherness. Everyone is too busy. Put the effort to find time just for the two of you.
Find Joy In Touch
When was the last time you hugged or kissed your spouse? If you can’t remember, step away from the computer and go do it now. Seriously. Tender touch is a joyful reminder of the love you share with your spouse. Hold hands on a walk. Cuddle before bed, and rejoice in the opportunity that you can be in such close physical proximity with the one you love.
Invite joy into your life by constantly being grateful for your relationship with your spouse. If you’re religious, say a prayer for your partner. Thank the person you pray to for keeping them safe, healthy, and in your life. If you’re into affirmations, invite joy by saying every day, “My marriage is full of joy and love.” Keep a gratitude journal. Or, simply share your thanks directly with your spouse.
Joy is a choice. It is an action, and it is something that needs to be reintroduced over and over and over again. I wish your marriage all the joy it deserves.