05 April 2012

ARTICLE: Ways to have a more joyful marriage

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.”
 ~ The Holy Bible, 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 

I've only been married for 2 1/2 years and boy, have I learned a lot. Marriage is nothing like what Hollywood portrays it to be. It's way more than that. Marriage is hard work. Lots and lots of hard work. I'm still learning that. But in all honesty? It's worth it. Marriage can be such a blessing if you put the effort in making it work. A group of amazing women and I created this wonderful article, sharing tips and advice on how to have a more joyful marriage. These are real tips from real people! I hope you enjoy these tips as much as I do! Let us know your thoughts below :)

The biggest lesson for me has been that "happily ever after" isn't a fairy tale -- it's a lot of give and take and choosing to put the other person's needs and desires first -- and that my expectations for a great marriage were a lot more superfluous than God's expectations for a Christ-honoring marriage. Realizing that (and it's an ongoing process!) has definitely made me more joyful as we go through our day-to-day life. 
~ Laura Yang, Laura Yang Photography

The best way I know to have a joyful marriage is to pray for my husband. I keep a prayer journal and write out my prayers for very specific areas in his life: spiritual, work, his body, etc. We have been married almost 8 years and it took me a long time to realize my Godly responsibilities. I am thankful for a Bible study on Proverbs 31 that really helped me get real about praying for my husband. 
Heather Lilly, Heather Lilly Photography

One of the things that has helped me is to talk to my husband about everything. If he does something that I could take as him trying to annoy me, rather than just assuming that's the case, and getting upset, I bring it up to him and we talk about it. [He does the same with me.] Assumptions get me in trouble so much, and it's much better to have everything out in the open than to keep stuff inside. :) It helps me keep focused on the things I should be focused on, instead of getting upset over nothing. It's definitely helped keep me more joyful! :)
Susie Hadeed, Photography by Susie

Marriage is about being selfless. It's a take before giving relationship. If you are feeling unloved or under appreciated, make a conscious choice to do something loving for your spouse, tell or show your significant other how much you appreciate them. AND DO IT DAILY. Marriage is an amazing relationship if fostered and treated with care and taken care of. Whatever you do don't ignore your relationship. Second have fun, continue to date your spouse and keep it real. Life can bog down and cause us to put each other on a back burner but it's about making time to talk, cuddle, and most importantly have fun with each other. Make appointments for dates if you have to. No one has to know when you tell them you have a previous commitment that it's to go out on a date with your husband. Be silly, have fun and laugh!
Angela Silva-Chenoweth, Angela Chenoweth Photography

What helps me maintain a joyful marriage is to remain flexible. My husband and I don't agree on many things. Some are smaller (the way we load and unload the dishwasher) and some are larger (the way we manage our bank accounts). What helps us through these disagreements is realizing that neither of us are wrong: my husband may not do something the way I would, but that doesn't mean that his way won't work! He's still my favorite, and that's what matters!
~ Lauren Nygard, Lauren Nygard Photography

The thing that helps us most to maintain a joyful marriage is to remember that my husband and I are two completely different people with completely different expectations. We have totally different love languages. We have to constantly remind ourselves that what may seem logical or right to us might not seem that way to the other person and to try to see it from the other's perspective. This is difficult! Being able to say you are sorry is one of the best skills to develop asap in your marriage. Its also vitally important to be transparent, real with each other, and have the ability to be goofy and have fun with each other! Be each other's best friend :)
Tim and Jess, Tim and Jess Photo

Here's how we stay joyful in our marriage: focus on the GOOD on purpose!! We are obviously not perfect and will always have differences. We may have things we'll NEVER agree on but that's okay!! We won't pretend out differences and problems aren't there and with Gods help we'll work through them, but the focus of our relationship should be the good things. The first thought in our heads when we fight shouldn't be "oh no, here it goes again...I don't know if I can deal with him/her and all the problems much longer..." but rather "Lord, how do we deal? I want to spend the rest of my life in joy with this person you have given me, help us get along so we can have that precious relationship together that you willed for us!!
~ Corrianna Childers, Ricordi photography

One tip that I've learned over the last 5 years of marriage is to be each other’s biggest cheerleaders, always being there to root for your spouse. If my husband comes to me with an idea I try to really hear it out and be supportive, and likewise he is always there to give me moral support when I need it. This is especially necessary in public. If a group of friends are joking at your husband’s expense don't chime in; even if it’s just light-hearted fun, you should always be your spouse’s safe zone. The bigger the issue, or the closer it is to your spouse’s heart, the more supportive we need to be. Being supportive isn’t always about agreeing either, but being understanding and sharing the burden with each other… and sometimes, when necessary, waiting to talk it out in private. I realize this is common sense, but sometimes we can overlook the most obvious courtesies.
~ Sue Wheelock, Sue Wheelock Photography

One way my husband and I have kept a joyful marriage is to appreciate our individualities. To truly understand our unique interests, qualities and characteristics. Then allowing the space to relish in those distinctions which allows us to bring our true and best self to our marriage.
~ Tracy Stone, Tracy Stone Photography

Laugh, and laugh often. Make fun of yourself and poke fun at your spouse. Its not always important who is right or wrong, just laugh. My husband and I are both very stubborn people, so something as simple as what what our best friends dog's name can spark a disagreement which can very well lead to an argument. So say the dogs name is José and move on with it! Nothing in life is a better or faster remedy than laughing.
~ Malerie Pacileo, Zoe Says Photography

Don't take things to seriously.... life is too short to get urked about every little thing. Choose to see the fun side, the side you fell in love with, the memory that will come out of the situation... So much can be changed simply by our reaction to each other and our circumstances... Give the benefit of the doubt... Choose to see the good... the fun... the lovely...
~ Karen Stott, Karen & Issac Stott 

In my expereince, the joy that comes in marriage is not rooted in what the other person is doing for you or what needs they are meeting for you. Rather, the joy that I find in marriage is from our common daily dependence on God and our need for Him to fulfill our deepest yearnings of our hearts. To acknowledge that although my husband is wonderful, he is only human and cannot satisfy the deepest longing of my soul (and vice versa). Finding our identity not in our marriage but in God has alllowed us the freedom to love one another as God loves us (although still imperfect love) and not to depend on our own human will to love. Sharing a common dependence on Christ and His work on the cross is the only place that we can find true joy that will last throughout our marriage. Marrying someone with the same dedication to your faith is so vital in the growth, intimacy and overall joy that comes with being married. 
Bethany Kennedy, Bethany Carlson Photography 

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