I have noticed lately that there is a lot of talk about a joy-filled life in recent years. It seems at every turn you can find someone talking about finding joy. Even the Bible is filled with references on finding joy. Got Questions says that The Bible refers to finding joy over 300 times.
As it turns out, authors Marcus Warner and Chris Coursey have found there is a scientific basis behind it all.
There is no more powerful motivator in life than joy.Chris Coursey
Warner and Coursey discuss finding this joy in their new book, The 4 Habits of Joy-Filled Marriages.
It takes a plan to achieve a joy-filled marriage
Our emotional capacity is directly proportionate to the amount of joy we have. When you have large amounts of joy, life is just better. Note here that joy is not the same as happiness as we learn in the above-mentioned article from Got Questions.
So first, what is emotional capacity? It’s the ability to bounce back after a difficult situation.
And how can I have more joy? It takes a little work but it’s really not that hard. Make a plan, just a few minutes a day for 30 days can change your whole outlook on life. Ann Voskamp shared in her book, A Thousand Gifts, that finding joy through gratitude changed her life radically. She took a few minutes a day to think of three things she was grateful for and her life has never been the same.
Chris and Marcus say we can decrease our joy gap in 30 days. Our joy gap is the amount of time between feelings of joy. The way to do this is through your own intentionality. They say if you follow the instructions in their new book, The 4 Habits of Joy-Filled Marriages and do the prescribed exercises…
“… you will almost certainly begin to see changes for the better in your marriage. If you do them for sixty or ninety days, you will develop habits that make joy the new normal in your marriage.”
OK, What’s the plan for joy-filled marriages?
I was glad to find that my husband and I have been following the plan without even knowing the plan. 🙂 We have been doing many of the things Chris and Marcus suggested and I’d say it must work because Michael and I consider our marriage joy-filled. There are four habits discussed in the book easily remembered by the acronym P.L.A.N.
- Play together
- Listen for emotion
- Appreciate daily
- Nurture Rhythm
I would say that these are quite self-explanatory. I mentioned that my husband and I feel that we have already been doing these things. Some suggestions we follow are:
- Going on dates. This does not have to be expensive. You don’t even have to spend money here. Take a walk. Goo.g.le “Things to do for free” in your city. You will be surprised at what you can do. Check out what we can do in Savannah. When we lived in Milwaukee, citizens could visit the museums for free on certain days. We hit these as often as we could.
- Listen for Emotion. Make sure when you are talking that you are actually listening to your mate. Keep eye contact. And LISTEN, don’t start thinking about your reply. Hear what they are saying to you. The book will give you some wonderful exercises to teach you to listen.
- Appreciate Daily. When is the last time you said, “Thank you” to your spouse? Not for the big things but the small things like taking out the garbage. Take notice when they do a small kindness and show appreciation.
- Nurture rhythm. This is about routine. find a routine and stick to it. Don’t continue to break the times you do have together. Michael and I always enjoy breakfast together and in the evening, we watch some tv together. These are times you have to catch up with what is happening with your spouse. This is important.
An Easy Read
You won’t have trouble reading this small book. The first three chapters explain the brain science behind it all and then how and what they have developed to helped others have joy-filled marriages.
The remaining chapters discuss the PLAN and give you plenty of simple exercises to do together. The exercises are very simple. Some of them might feel awkward at first if you haven’t already been doing them. (ie. eye smiles.) You may not be in the habit of looking into one another’s eyes but they explain how to work on it and lengthen the time.
I did get caught in the last chapter. They actually said if I was like them I hadn’t done the exercises. ha! They were right. Seriously, for us, we do these things so, in a way, we did the exercises. I would encourage you though if you need more joy in your marriage, read the book, do the exercises.Need a more joy-filled marriage? Read the book, follow the plan, do the exercises. #joy-filledmarriages #marriage #moodypress Click To Tweet
Men who have done these exercises faithfully with their wives have commonly reported feeling more secure and less anxious in their marriages. The same is true for women, who have reported feeling more highly valued and cared for by their husbands.
You have to be careful though. One man who went through the process wrote, “I work from home and I had to cut back on the exercises because my wife and I found ourselves in bed too much during the day and I was not getting any work done!” You’ve been warned.The 4 Habits of Joy-Filled Marriages
I express joy-filled gratitude to Marcus Warner and Chris Coursey along with Moody Press Publishers for providing a copy of the book. This review is my own words and not affected in any way by the publisher or authors.
Who wants my marked-up 4 Habits of Joy-filled Marriages book? You will be entered in the drawing each time you comment during November. Comment on any post during November 2019 for an entry in the drawing. Winner to be announced in the December 3 newsletter.
Speaking of Ann Voskamp
Pastor’s Wife (retired) & Chronic Pain Warrior blogs about how to make it through anything by relating her own life experiences to her writing. She is passionate about her love for the Lord and desires to spread that passion to others. She has a great desire to encourage women who are following behind her.