Introduction

Not everyone enjoys a happy marriage, and still some downright despise their marriage.  However, it is still possible that a happy marriage can be achieved regardless of the condition of the marriage and assuming that deep down inside, both of you would really like to have a happy marriage relationship.  Even if divorce was brought up, it is not too late to fix things.  So, in this article, I’d like to present a way that you can jumpstart your relationship to the happy state.

Take advantage of the benevolent and altruistic dispositions of the holidays.  The Christmas and New Year’s holidays are times when people are inclined to be nice and give gifts, even to people that they otherwise don’t necessarily like or haven’t interacted with very much during the year.  So, Christmas is indeed a time of giving.  With that, comes the New Year.  Of course, we all know that the new year holiday is ripe with the notion of new beginnings and new year’s resolutions.  Why not resolve to put your differences and feelings aside and start fresh on a path to marital happiness.

Ok. You’re not happy with your marriage or perhaps, you just want things to get better—to get out of the rut, so to speak.  Perhaps your marriage isn’t a bad one, and you just want to rid it of the boredom that plagues it so much.  Perhaps your marriage is so bad that your mind constantly looks for a path towards happiness that doesn’t involve your spouse.  Perhaps you are so resentful of your spouse, that you don’t even want to consider the rest of your life involving your spouse as you pursue your own happiness.  Regardless of where you are, take the opportunities presented by this holiday season to do something new and completely contrary to how you feel about your marriage.

I would like to share some tips that you can use to jumpstart your marriage and give it a chance to get on the path to happiness.  It won’t be easy, and you will have to defy how you feel.  Think about it for a moment.  There are many things that you do that you do not feel like doing, but you do them because you have to, or it is simply the right thing to do.  Include your marriage into that paradigm.

Put Away Your Feelings About Your Marriage

It is so easy to treat your spouse in a manner that is based on how you feel about him/her or the marriage in general.  We, as humans, will always tend to do this in our relationships with other, however, we should be careful that it does not a determinant factor in the relationship.  For example, you may not relate to your boss based on how you feel about him or her.  If you did, you may get fired.  Likewise, do not treat your spouse based on how you feel about him or her.  Treat your spouse based on how you want things to be.  You wouldn’t train hard to win a race after you’ve run the race.  You would train hard, assuming that you can win.  You do what is necessary based on the expected outcome, not the current state of things.  Do the same for your marriage.

Operate Out of Knowledge

I remember many years ago, during a men’s fellowship where Miles Monroe was speaking, that he said that we should operate out of knowledge.  He went on to explain that sometimes you must do things within your marriage, not because you feel like it, but because it is the best thing to do for the marriage.  This is related to the above but highlights the necessity to operate on knowledge not what you want to do.  Whereas the above tip mostly deals with those in a bad marriage or stagnant marriage, this tip deals more with doing the right thing regardless of the state of the marriage.  After all, many marriages start off great, but then relegate to boredom, resentment, and then the badlands.  You may have a great marriage, but you still have to make good decisions to keep it that way. Therefore, do things that is better for your marriage relationship and not just yourself or your feelings.  At the same time, I must say that you cannot neglect yourself either, because resentment is always looking for an excuse to show up.  Ensure your own happiness, but not at the expense of your spouse or the relationship.

Give Your Spouse Gifts Anyway

I remember a long time ago when my wife and I were dating while in college (we weren’t married then).  I remember being very upset with her for some reason that I don’t remember now.  I had decided one day that I was going to buy her a gift at the store while I was downtown in Philadelphia, PA.  I loved going downtown.  Anyway, I said to myself that I wasn’t going to buy her anything because I was upset with her.  After all, you don’t give someone a gift if you are upset with them.  Right?  Well, I suppose God convicted me or something because I decided to get the gift for her anyway.  Something strange happened when I gave her the gift.  The feelings of being upset vanished.  They went up like a puff of smoke.  I immediately felt better about her.  I have not forgotten that incident and what giving a gift, even when I didn’t feel like it, did for my feelings towards her.  I still practice that same principle to this day.

The act of doing something nice for your spouse may indeed affect how you feel about him or her at that moment, which could then contribute to better feelings about him/her later.  If we continue to treat our spouse based on how we feel about him/her, then we may find ourselves feeding resentment and ill feelings, which don’t help the relationship get better at all.  We doom our marriages ourselves, while at the same time blaming our spouse.

So, this holiday season, or anytime during the year, put aside how you feel and do something nice for your spouse periodically or regularly, but not so much that it is religious or just another routine.  Ride the holiday waves of happiness, joy, altruism, etc. and carry those to your marriage relationship and to your spouse.  This will allow your spouse to respond to you positively instead of reflecting the ill feelings that you have for him/her.

Consider It An Investment

Consider doing the things mentioned above as an investment to your marriage, instead of something that you should be rewarded for immediately.  What do I mean by that?  If you do something nice for your spouse, then you will tend to expect him/her to do something nice for you, or to at least express appreciation for the nice thing you did.  Sometimes, that may not happen.  Why?  You may think your spouse is the problem in the relationship, but he/she may be thinking the same way about you.  If he/she is not the one initiating this benevolence, then your spouse may not trust what you have done.  He/she may think you are up to something.  A wife may think that your sudden benevolence is a sign that you are cheating on her.  So, don’t necessarily expect reciprocation or appreciation when you start the new paradigm of benevolence and altruism apart from feelings.  You are investing in your relationship, and like many investments, it will take time to get a return. Just keep at it.

Make Yourself The Gift

It is easy for us to get into the mindset that we can buy happiness.  We may think that if we give our spouse enough gifts, that he or she will feel good about us.  That is a fantasy.  Humans know a façade when they see one, even if they play along.  For example, your wife may love the fact that you gave her a diamond ring, a gold necklace, pearl shoes, etc.  However, she still knows deep down inside that you haven’t changed anything (unless your actions apart from the gifts shows that you have).  She may go along with it because she likes having those things, but that may not change the way she feels about you and therefore won’t benefit your marriage relationship.

Instead of showering your spouse with gifts, present yourself.  Be there for him/her. Get involved in their world and begin to enjoy life together.  Let the marriage bond be strengthened by presenting yourself to your spouse.  In time, he/she will present themselves to you.

Be A Companion To Your Spouse

After all, that is what marriage is about.  The Bible says that the wife is the compatible companion for her husband.  Help your spouse with what he or she is doing.  Talk about your dreams and goals and how you are going to get there.  Do chores together with the objective of relieving your spouse of some of the work.  Be involved with your spouse’s exercise routines.  Get involved with your spouse’s life!

Turn off the television and get your face out of the mobile device.  How can you be a companion to your spouse when you’re always watching TV or on Facebook?  You can’t. You will teach your spouse that he or she is not important enough to you to interact with, and you will begin to slowly drift apart.  You’re married, so, act like it starting now, holiday or not.

Do Stuff Together

During the Christmas holiday (or any opportune time), start doing things together.  You could watch Christmas movies together and then talk about them.  I like to commentate the movies for a big laugh or to joke around with my wife.  Talk about the holidays and what they mean to you.  You’d be surprised what you might learn about your spouse.  Shop together whether it is in the store or online.  Just make it a point to start doing things together.  Make it a new year’s resolution to do more things together.

When I say “together,” I’m not just speaking about the vicinity.  For example, merely watching a movie together is not really being together.  The two of you just happen to be in the same room doing the same thing.  To watch a movie together and commentating and joking is doing something together because you are interacting with each other.  Togetherness involves interaction, not merely spatial closeness.

Talk About Stuff, Even The Hard Stuff

There is no way that two people can live together and maintain a relationship without problems.  There will always be situations of conflict.  That’s normal, so don’t get so upset when it happens, but instead, respectfully resolve those issues.  Talk to each other between those conflict encounters.  It isn’t a good idea to suddenly express the problems you have with the marriage relationship when blow your cool because your husband put a dirty cup in the sink after you washed the dishes.

Sit down with your spouse to discuss the state of the marriage, how you feel about the marriage, your goals, concerns, etc.  Some of these conversations may not be pleasant, but in the end, they will benefit the marriage and help lead you onto the path to happiness.  So, don’t wait until conflict happens to express issues.  Instead, respectfully reserve time with your spouse this holiday season to discuss things, the good, the bad, and the future.

Decide To Change Things Together

The great thing about the new year holiday is that you can easily decide on new things to do.  Why not take advantage of that, apart from how you feel about your marriage, and decide together to do things better.  Let it not only be a new year, but a new marriage life!  Repent of your old ways and spend more time nurturing your marriage relationship with your spouse. Don’t wait for him or her to do something.  You do something.  You initiate the new destination of the relationship.  Spend more time on the other side of the fence, so to speak.  Decide to spend more time with your spouse and doing things together.

Conclusion

Take advantage of the holiday season to jumpstart your marriage relationship.  Whether your marriage is bad or good, it can always get better.  Take the time to use the gift-giving spirit in the air to be a giving spouse.  Use the benevolent spirit in the air to be benevolent and altruistic towards your spouse.  Imagine better times in your marriage and now pursue them.  Ride this wave of holiday cheer to make your marriage a happy one.

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