What’s better than being in a happy marriage?

Having an even happier marriage!

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. 

#1: Remember that submission isn’t just for the wife.

For the most part, Christians agree that God has set man as the head of the household and the woman should submit to his spiritual leadership. But, even in that, there can be multiple theories about what it means to biblically lead or submit. I truly believe that couples are happiest when both people in the couple are following the Biblical principle of submission.

In Ephesians chapter 5, Paul gives instructions to Christian homes. He says first that we should submit to one another and then gives further explanation that wives should submit to their husbands and that the husbands should submit to God.

There is a deep joy that comes to a relationship when a husband submits himself to God, making his aim to follow the example of Christ. Christ gave his life for us and he expects husbands to do the same. No, this does not mean that wives are allowed to beat and crucify their husbands. Not even close. But, the goal of the husband is to care for his wife (go read Eph. 5…take care of that lady, sir!). His desire should be to see that her needs are met and to love her fully.

Women, on the other hand are to respect their husbands and allow him to lead them spiritually. In some ways, this goes against the very nature of a woman to take care of the house, the kids, and everything else in her path. Women are nurturers and care takers and sometimes struggle to turn this part of themselves off for their husbands. Ma’am, if you want your husband to lead, you have to take a step back and believe in him. He can’t lead if you’re jumping in front of him.

Practicing Biblical roles can make you both feel quite a bit happier in your marriage. 

By the way, respect and love may not look like you think they do. Wives, ask your husband how you can show him respect and husbands, ask your wife how you can best show her that you love her.

#2: Fool-proof your communication to have a successful exchange.

A great way to have a more fulfilling marriage is to learn how to communicate well. I’ve yet to meet a couple needing to work on their marriage that doesn’t name communication issues as one of their biggest problems.

Couples who communicate well are much happier than couples who don’t.

Good communication requires some wisdom. If you want to really get an understanding of becoming wise, I encourage you to read through Proverbs. This book gives great advice about being wise and getting free from foolishness. And while there are many examples, I’ll share Proverbs 18:2 with you.

“Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.”

One of the most dangerous things that two married people can do is get caught up in their own thoughts and opinions in such a way that they don’t  know how to listen to their spouse. And while it’s a lofty and admirable goal to fully know your spouse (grab my guide if you don’t know about the yada knowledge you can have of one another), this is not something that happens without serious effort.

My dad used to say, “God gave you two ears and one mouth” anytime he was wanting us to just listen to him. That advice is great for couples as well. This isn’t just the recommendation during arguments either. This is great advice just in times of connecting with one another.

It’s so easy to get in the habit of thinking, “My spouse always talks about XYZ. Surely there is nothing new to hear about this.” But, listen hard, friend! Make it your aim to fully understand the things that your spouse likes to talk about (or likes to do).

#3: Make compliments more often than you make complaints.

I made a commitment to God recently to work on complaining less frequently.

And then I told Jacob about it.

Word of advice – if you’re trying to complain less, don’t tell your spouse. It’s so annoying when your spouse points out that you’re not holding to your goal of not complaining. Ugh! Oh wait…am I complaining???

Actually, I think it’s a great idea to let your spouse help you with your goals. It’s a good way to understand your spouse more fully too. I have a much better understanding of some of the things I say and do that annoy my spouse then I realized just a month ago.

There’s research that says it takes five positive exchanges to override a negative exchange with your spouse. That means if you’re a little bit of a jerk one morning, you need to be REALLY nice just to get things back to the place they were before you were rude and ugly.

That’s a lot of work just to get things back to “normal.”

Practice daily compliments of your spouse. Send them through text. Leave special hand-written messages for your spouse. Look them in the eye and tell them something you appreciate or love about them. Aim to give true, honest compliments daily.

Not only will your spouse feel happier in the marriage when you are complimenting, but you will also. Complimenting frequently causes you to look at the blessings in your marriage instead of the hardships.

So there you have it. How will you practice happiness today?

Wishing you a happy and fulfilling marriage!