**Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.** Philippians 4:4
Commitment, common ground and serving were our first three tips for a stronger marriage. Today’s tip deals with our moods, emotions and heart. It is tough to rejoice with a sour face. It is also tough to have a sour face when we are rejoicing!
Joy is based in gratitude. The more that we are grateful for what we already have, for what God has already done in our lives and in our family, and **in every good thing which the LORD our God has given to us**, the higher the joy thermometer rises. Because what comes out of our mouth and is reflected in our moods come from what is happening in our hearts.
1 Chronicles 29:9 tells us that joy also creates a generous heart. Have you ever tried to be generous with your money or your things when you are having a bad day? It isn’t easy! If we are able at all to be generous while in a bad mood, it is usually done with a bad attitude and a lot of complaining. Or is that only me?
In the times of Nehemiah, the people rejoiced over having returned to their land, to be able to rebuild their beloved city and to once again be able to read and hear the Word of God and worship together. After this past year of Covid, I think we can all relate to this story more than at any other time. All of us have struggled with the restrictions on gathering with God’s people, right? We have all learned to appreciate the freedoms that we used to take for granted.
Here, in Spain, we have only met together in person a handful of Sundays over these past 10 months. The restrictions have been very limiting for church gatherings. So, those Sundays that we have been able to ‘have church’ in person have been very joyful ones. The corporate joy of a body of believers is a natural door to deep worship. The joy becomes contagious and lifts up everyone, including those who are losing hope.
So, how does all this apply to and help our marriages?
Well, it is tough to have an unhappy marriage if both spouses are grateful for all the good that the other spouse brings to the relationship. If we are continually focusing on the flaws and mistakes of our partner, it is hard to have unity or reflect a joyful and grateful heart. If we are starting each day with a negative outlook, we are going to be the source of conflict and discouragement for our spouse and for the whole family. I don’t think any of us want to be that, right? Don’t we all want to have a positive influence on our children and on our spouse? Of course we do.
So, put on a happy face. Start the day thanking God for all the good things that you have right in front of you. And see if your day isn’t a bit different and if your relationship with your spouse doesn’t take a positive turn. I guarantee you will be able to REJOICE together!