I believe one of the more important aspects of being able to enjoy our lives, no matter what situation we are facing, is to have gratitude. If we have a tendency to forget all the blessings in our lives, we will only be miserable. A good way to acknowledge our blessings is to write them down in a journal everyday to be able to look back and be thankful for them.
We need to learn to rejoice in all things because the Bible says that a joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up bones (Proverbs 17:22). The Bible also shares with us that we can rejoice in the Lord, even in the most awful conditions. We can tell ourselves that no matter what our current conditions are we always have a choice to be joyful. If we want to have strength in our lives, we must chose to have joy and contentment no matter what.
Think about it. No one is perfectly happy with their lives. We know as believers that life is not as it should be. Part of us knows that we were created for the Garden of Eden, but our current world is nothing like the Garden of Eden was before the fall of Adam and Eve. However, learning to be content is still possible because Paul said, “ I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any or every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
As a wife, I learned that one of the greatest values of being grateful was that it created joy and contentment within my marriage. Although, I wasn’t born knowing how to always be content, I had to work on my heart and mind, and praise God for the way my life was, rather than always wishing things in my marriage were different. I had to retrain my entire thought life by thinking about what I was thinking, more often than not. I needed to weigh on things that were pure and true, and were worthy of spending my time and energy on. I realized thinking on things that were admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy, left no room in my thoughts to think about what was false, wrong, impure and ugly about my husband. As soon as I got the knack of controlling my own thoughts, my old way of stinking thinking was left in the past, and things began changing drastically in my marriage.
When we consider “ Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – and think about such things” (Philippians 4:8) we will experience more joy then we ever could have ever imagined.
Often times when we find ourselves grumbling and complaining negatively about our situation, it comes from pride. We think things should be a certain way, or we think we deserve more than what we are getting, so we complain about things not being up to our standards. But the Bible says, “ Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought to, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement” (Romans 12:3). It would be good to stop thinking that we deserve special treatment from anyone … even from our spouse.
We might have expectations about how things should go in our lives, but instead of expecting a lot, we should be happy when we get anything good in our lives. We should remember that we deserved to die for our sins, but God showed His grace in sending His son to die for us. The fact that we get anything great in life is us getting more than we deserve. We shouldn’t demand anything from our spouse, and regardless of whether or not they have provided for us, we will be more likely to complain, when we don’t get what we thought we should have.
So, how do we remain faithful, and find joy when we are under any kind of trials in our marriage? When we continue to live for Christ, and endure the hardship that comes with the sacrifice to remain loyal. Rather than expecting and talking about the worst case scenarios, we must remain committed to living according to God’s word because there is freedom for those who obey. When we put this kind of hope in the Lord, we find our joy in the journey.