Do you know the 4 habits that will fill your marriage with joy?
I love the underlying premise of this book: You can build joy into your marriage. Without trying to fix everything in the past, and without trying to control your spouse, you can take definite, positive action to increase the joy in your relationship. How encouraging! Many couples need that kind of hope.
Brain science, joy, and marriage
In this book, the authors explain that recent discoveries in brain science demonstrate how these four habits stimulate joy and build stronger bonds in marriage. The explanations are neither technical nor detailed, but they are interesting and motivating.
Although this book is short and easy-to-read, it includes a separate chapter on each of the four habits, as well as many practical activities for couples to do together. These exercises show “how 15 minutes a day will help you stay in love,” as the subtitle of the book claims. These activities are designed to build connection and boost joy in any marriage—including yours!
The four habits that enhance joy
1. Play together. It is easy to get caught-up in the busyness of married life and to neglect the core of healthy marriage, which is friendship. But if you are willing to be intentional and to invest the time and effort, you can strengthen your friendship … and amplify your joy.
2. Listen for emotion. Truly listening to one another is a great gift in any marriage, but learning to listen for emotions is even more powerful. You can learn to hear your spouse’s emotion, validate it, and then provide comfort (in that order). This is the type of listening that will create the biggest joy-boost in your marriage.
3. Appreciate daily. Even more than saying “thank you,” taking the time to experience genuine appreciation will expand your joy dramatically.
4. Nurture rhythms. Schedule regular times in your calendar to connect and relax with your spouse. “As you learn to start your day relationally, end your day relationally, and schedule regular times for relational connection, your capacity for joy will dramatically increase and your margin for rest will follow suit” (106).
A helpful guideline
The authors repeated a phrase several times in this book which I think is a great principle:
Keep your relationship bigger than the problem.
When a problem is overwhelming your friendship, take time to prioritize your marriage. Tell your spouse that you value your relationship more than anything else. It is usually best to put a problem aside until you stabilize the relationship.
If you would like to fill your marriage with joy, you will love this little book! You will learn that you can change your relational posture and that you can recalibrate your brain to experience greater joy.
A book giveaway
Which of the four habits grabs your attention the most? If you would like to enter the drawing for a copy of this book, leave a comment below by June 23. One winner will be selected at random and will receive a paperback copy of The 4 Habits of Joy-Filled Marriages, compliments of Northfield Publishing.
Next week, I will be posting a video interview with Chris Coursey, co-author of The 4 Habits of Joy-Filled Marriages, so be sure to watch for that!
Joy to you,
(If you missed the interview with Ron and Jody Zappia as they discussed The Marriage Knot, you can view that HERE.)