How big is your marriage’s “joy gap”?
Dr. Marcus Warner and Chris Coursey, authors of the book The 4 Habits of Joy-Filled Marriages, describe a “joy gap” as the length of time between moments of joy.
If you apply that unit of measurement to your marriage, how long has it been? Days? Weeks? Months?
Your joy gap can be especially lengthy if you’re waiting for your circumstances to change, for your spouse to make you joyful, or for God to zap you with joy. None of those are likely to happen.
Dr. Warner and Chris say that joy must be cultivated. As Adam and Eve tended the garden (Genesis 2:15), so we must tend the garden of our marriage. We’ve got to pull the weeds, work the soil, and intentionally pursue joy in our relationship.
Couples can make choices that cause them to be happier individually and together. If you want a joy-filled marriage, remember the acronym PLAN to help you build habits that create joy.
- Play. Do things together. Treat your spouse as you would a friend with whom you enjoy spending time.
- Listen for emotion. Hear how your spouse is feeling. Help them feel seen. Help them feel understood.
- Appreciate daily. Let your spouse know every day how they impact your life for the better.
- Nurture a rhythm of rest. Couples can only grow joy when they have sufficient margin in life.
Focus on the Family is here to equip you with the tools you need to cultivate a spirit of joy in your marriage. Join us for our Focus on the Family Broadcast “Filling Your Marriage with Joy” with our guests Dr. Marcus Warner and Chris Coursey. Listen on your local radio station, online, on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or on our free phone app.
Dr. Warner is the president of Deeper Walk International. Chris is an ordained minister and pastoral counselor. Their book, The 4 Habits of Joy-Filled Marriages, is available for a gift of any amount. Visit our website for more information.