A Ministry of First Baptist Church Elyria OH

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Four Habits – Happy Marriage

FOUR habits to a Happy Marriage 

(information source: Warner, M., & Coursey, C. M. (2019). The 4 habits of joy-filled marriages: how 15 minutes a day will help you stay in love)

Habit #1: Play Together

Habit #2: Listen for Emotion

Habit #3: Appreciate Daily

Habit #4: Nurture a Rhythm

Play together:

Find things you both can do.  Don’t forget to celebrate the special days.  Celebrate:  Birthday and your anniversary for sure.  Can have ‘date night’ at home with ‘carry IN’ – ‘ movies’ – etc. 

If children, a couple needs to have time together without the children.  Hire a baby-sitter, if necessary.  Do activities together that both enjoy doing.


Making sure you have special events on the calendar is important for keeping joy in your marriage. Special events give you something to anticipate as you plan together, they give you time away where the focus is only on your relationship, and they give you memories to share for years to come. Depending on the budget, some couples go camping, some go to exotic destinations. No matter what, get creative, and you can find something that will bring you both joy on any budget.[1]

Listen for Emotion:

Need to spend time talking with one another and not just the happenings of the day, but share feelings. 

For men, since we are ‘problem solvers’ we may not just listen to our wife’s problem, but immediately go into ‘solving it’.   Most frequently she only wants to just talk out loud about things letting herself reveal things to self or whatever. 

When we listen we need to listen for ‘emotion’ not try and identify a problem  Try and identify the emotion or ask for clarification. 

Careful we don’s just offer what might be termed as “counterfeit validation”   like when we  just say “I understand” – Need to identify the emotion and could speak of you sensing “anger” – “Scared” – “Confusion” – “Stress”  or whatever the underlying feelings are occurring.  Make sure they are identified between the two of you.

Quote from a source that lists six core emotions:

SAD-SAD: Six Core Negative Emotions

To help you listen for emotion, we want to introduce you to six core negative emotions. These six are often combined to form other negative emotions (such as dread, which is most commonly a combination of fear and despair), but if you understand these six and learn to listen for them, your ability to validate emotions accurately should skyrocket.

We call these negative emotions the “SAD-SAD” emotions because SAD-SAD helps you remember what they are. Since the brain runs best on joy, these emotions all represent some way in which joy is stopped, stalled, or robbed. Each of these emotions also affects your body in some specific ways, which is helpful when you are trying to recognize your own emotions or those of someone else.

SADNESS. “I have lost something that brought me joy.” Sadness is a low-energy emotion. It feels like someone stepped on the brakes, and your body has lost some of its drive. Sadness can show itself as a pouty lip, tears in the eyes, or sagging posture. Whenever there are changes in relationships and routines, a sense of loss can create sadness. Perhaps your spouse is unavailable when you want to connect, or you schedule a date night and have to cancel it. Noticing the physical cues can help you recognize that your partner is sad. Validating the emotions can help your spouse feel like you are sharing the burden rather than leaving him/her alone in disappointment and loss.

ANXIETY. “I fear not being able to find joy as I look at the future.” Whereas sadness is a low-energy emotion, anxiety is high energy. It triggers our fight, flight, or freeze response, which shoots adrenaline all through our body.

Fear and anxiety go hand in hand. Fear is the emotional response to what threatens me while anxiety is rooted in imagination. We can all imagine scenarios we know would be overwhelming to us; therefore, everyone feels anxiety at times. Staying connected with people and knowing that I am not alone helps disarm anxiety. Validating your partner’s anxious emotions can help them feel connected and secure.

DESPAIR. “I feel like joy is impossible.” Despair is another low-energy emotion. It can suck the life out of your body so that you have no energy and don’t feel like doing anything. It can make your arms and hands hang limp. When you look at the future and see no hope of joy, you will feel despair. Despair means you do not have the time or the resources to fix a problem that is stealing your joy. Despair is hopelessness and is found at the root of most depression. It is the feeling that there is no solution for your problems. Despair can be hard to validate for some people because they want to give the other person some hope and help fix things rather than simply being present and happy to be with them even in their despair. We need to validate first and make sure the other person knows we see what they are going through before we jump to comforting them.

SHAME. “I feel like hiding because I can tell I don’t bring you joy.” Shame is also a low-energy emotion. You feel like hanging your head because you don’t expect someone to be happy to see you. You want to justify yourself so you don’t feel like it is your fault that another person doesn’t want to be with you. Healthy shame is recognizing changes that need to be made to your attitudes and behaviors. However, toxic shame is believing that you are simply a bad person and that your very presence is a cause for shame. Validating the emotion of shame in others can help people understand that you are happy to be with them even when they don’t expect it.

ANGER. “I want something to stop right now because it is robbing me of joy and causing me pain.” Anger is a high-energy emotion. It also triggers adrenaline as your body gears itself up for a fight or to make a situation stop. Anger tends to be motivated by the desire to stop pain or establish justice. When you want to cause someone else pain, it is often because you feel wronged and want them to feel the pain you feel. It can be hard to validate anger when it is directed at you, but it can also help to defuse situations that have escalated to say something like, “You are angry at me because you feel betrayed, like I am putting my own needs ahead of yours.” Validating anger may lead you to own the truth of what is going on, but, at the very least, it will show that you understand their feelings.

DISGUST. “I feel like recoiling from a person or situation.” Disgust is a low-energy emotion often connected with the desire to vomit. It relates to your body’s protective instinct to get rid of poison you may eat accidentally. Disgust makes you want to get as far away from something (or someone) as you can. One of the experiences that helped me understand disgust was learning to change diapers. It takes a certain amount of maturity to be able to feel disgust at the odor and texture of what you are dealing with and still be happy to be with your baby and do the needed task. Validating disgust is important because it lets people know that someone is willing to share their displeasure and stay relationally connected.[2]

#3 – Appreciate Daily …..

Saying “Thank-you” is nice, but it isn’t really showing “appreciation” to our spouse for something said, done, action, event, joyous activity – etc.    (I remember the big deal that came out to identify a “right brain” activity/words etc. or a “left brain” occurrence.  Thus, one would call the saying “thank-you” as a left-brain event (Thoughts)(Thinking).   When the right brain is involved it becomes an experience that bonds you to your wife. 

A right brain activity would be the taking of time to appreciate what occurred that she did.  Basically, “appreciation” is a shared joy and a relational component to the emotion.  In our Bible study we might acquire a feeling of sharing God’s Spirit with the understanding and enlightenment that the Holy Spirit brought to you. 

When sharing a Birthday with our spouse we might find a card with words that express our feelings.  There are some good ones out there.  A kind I found was from “Blue Mountain Arts”  and yet there are others.  Hallmark sometimes hit the spot, but they are frequently ‘one liners’.  Giving a card sends a message of spending time to find it and considering the words written that you choose.  (PS – it may not be a good time to give a humorous type of card for one’s anniversary. 

By showing appreciation on a daily bases will engage your thinking on focusing of the good things around you.  Interestingly; criticism is more frequently out of our mouths when we fail to fill our observation with things to be appreciative about.  The key is one’s attitude.  One’s attitude is important in many area of our life.  Lets take last week’s message from our pastor that we are to be good stewards in doing our job.  But when we get home a right attitude will do a lot on how we interpret the home front.

#4 – Nurture a Rhythm

“Nurture” is a process we engage in our minds.  As example that one spends time nurturing their flower garden &/or vegetable garden.  If we plant a flower or a tomato plant and just walk away from it for several days/weeks we will find when we return the plant is in a very unhealthy condition.  The old saying:  “Everything worth while takes time and energy to maintain” (on various sayings we’ve heard or read over time).

Basically to find a good rhythm for our marriage it would come down to two simple ingredients:  “attention” and “Timing”.   Know what time it is and alert to the fluctuating needs in your marriage will establish security and increase marriage joy.

The article mentioned:  “Rest and Joy”      Maintain good emotional and mental health.  Discuss it together to learn what works for each partner.  Some might be soft music where others might be to read and yet other ways might be done by all of us.

When I read that I thought of a time in the 50’s that we the church members came home and in order to “honor the sabbath day and not work”  We went to the solution of just taking a nap every Sunday afternoon.  Afterall how could one break the “keep the sabbath day holy” if we were in bed?  (Now as a child, that was not what was on our agenda.)  My-oh-my have we grown in our awareness of how to do that.  (I remember when no store was open on Sunday in our town, do you?)

After reading this perhaps you could get together with your spouse and make a play to help you two in your marriage.  We all know, that a happy marriage is a real joy.  Let’s not kid ourselves that in order for things to improve in our home, we need to put “prayer” and “work” in it.

May God bless your Christian home!

May God bless your Christian activities!

May God bless your Christian life together!

May God bless your Christian _________________ the list goes on……………..

Quote from the The Lexham Bible Dictionary:

Loyal Love (חֶסֶד, chesed)

The most frequent noun for “love” in the Old Testament, חֶסֶד (chesed), occurs over 250 times in the Hebrew Bible. The term does not have a clear equivalent translation. The KJV translates it as “lovingkindness,” while newer translations use “steadfast love” (ESV) or “loyal love” (LEB). Some translators use “mercy,” following the Septuagint translation (ἔλεος, eleos). In context, “loyal love” (חֶסֶד, chesed) refers to two people or groups of people who have previously formed a relationship. It describes an attitude of loyalty between the two, but it also requires some sort of action (Sakenfeld, The Meaning of Hesed in the Hebrew Bible, 16–21).

When “loyal love” (חֶסֶד, chesed) is used in reference to people, it represents a type of fidelity or loyalty that leads to action. Promises between two people display this relational dynamic most clearly. For example, David uses the term as he reminds Jonathan of a previous promise (1 Sam 20:8). “Loyal love” (חֶסֶד, chesed) can also refer to acts of mercy or good deeds (2 Chr 32:32; Neh 13:14). Hosea indicts the people for their lack of “loyal love” (חֶסֶד, chesed; Hos 4:1) and describes their practice of “swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery” (Hos 4:2). Micah exhorts the people to show “loyal love” (חֶסֶד, chesed) through acts of justice (Mic 6:8). Additionally, the term is used for a human response to God (Hos 6:4) and as an adjective describing a loyal person (2 Sam 22:26) or group of people, such as the Israelites (Pss 148:14; 149:1).

The term holds similar meanings when used in reference to God. God’s “loyal love” (חֶסֶד, chesed) protects and sustains life (Pss 94:17–18; 119:88, 149, 159), at times offering protection from enemies (Psa 143:12). God’s “loyal love” (חֶסֶד, chesed) also stands in contrast with His wrath. For example, Micah uses the term in describing God relenting from His wrath and offering forgiveness (Mic 7:18). The Old Testament frequently calls God “slow to anger and great in His love (חֶסֶד, chesed)” (Exod 34:6; Num 14:18; Joel 2:13; Jonah 4:2; Pss 86:15; 103:8). Human loyalty to God is described as weak, but divine love is enduring and eternal (Isa 54:10; Pss 89:2; 103:17; 117:2). The phrase “[God’s] love (חֶסֶד, chesed) endures forever” occurs throughout the Hebrew Bible (1 Chr 16:34; 2 Chr 5:13; 7:3, 6; 20:21; Ezra 3:11).

God’s enduring love lays a foundation for His covenantal promises. God’s “loyal love” (חֶסֶד, chesed) is frequently connected with the Abrahamic covenant (Deut 7:12; Mic 7:20), the Davidic covenant (2 Sam 7:15; 1 Chr 17:13–14), and the Mosaic covenant (Exod 15:13). Glueck argues that these covenantal structures form a relationship similar to that between a father and son, which require some type of reciprocal response to God’s loyalty. In this view, the people will enjoy loyal love (חֶסֶד, chesed) as long as they maintain a relationship with Him (e.g., Isa 55:3; Glueck, Hesed in the Bible, 88–102). This aligns with the covenantal obligations for the Davidic king outlined in 2 Sam 7:14–16 (Gentry, “Isaiah 55:3,” 279–88). However, Routledge argues that God’s “loyal love” (חֶסֶד, chesed) alone forms the basis of the relationship, which is rooted in His character (Exod 34:6). In this sense, “loyal love” (חֶסֶד, chesed) more closely resembles grace: God is faithful despite the unfaithfulness of those in the covenantal relationship (Jer 31:3). Those in relationship with God should respond with love toward Him and others, but when they fail, He will restore that relationship (Routledge, “Hesed as Obligation,” 186–96).[3]


It works!

[1] Warner, M., & Coursey, C. M. (2019). The 4 habits of joy-filled marriages: how 15 minutes a day will help you stay in love. Northfield Publishing.

[2] Warner, M., & Coursey, C. M. (2019). The 4 habits of joy-filled marriages: how 15 minutes a day will help you stay in love. Northfield Publishing.

[3] Simpson, B. I. (2016). Love. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, L. Wentz, E. Ritzema, & W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Lexham Press.