“’Happily ever after’ is not a fairy tale, it is a choice.” ~ Fawn Weaver
After the romantic honeymoon, many couples are surprised to find marriage is not the key that will sustain their happiness. Without tools and understanding, defining happiness in marriage can seem elusive and out of reach. Researchers in positive psychology have described the happiness formula as follows:
- 50% of your happiness is biological in nature and is your natural “set point”
- 10% is circumstantial (example: purchasing a new car, getting married)
- 40% of your happiness is tied to the choices you make
Within 2 years of marriage, most couples lose the boost of happiness initially obtained and land back to their ‘set point’. This is when every couple needs to dig deeper and find the 40 percent of happiness that can be found in the choices being made. Here are six suggested choices to begin to increase your marital happiness.
6 Choices for Upgrading Your Marital Happiness:
- Practice contentment
Focus on the good things in your marriage. Even during times of trouble, you can search for the things that are going right. Don’t fall into the trap of comparing your lives to others but be content with the positive qualities that lie within your spouse. “For I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” Philippians 4:11
- Practice random acts of kindness
Joy and happiness are often found when you reach out to do something for someone else. Even very small things can have an impact on people.
- Celebrate life together
Keep your relationship fresh by doing new things together. Find a new restaurant to go to or enjoy a getaway to your favorite place to relax.
- Make dreams come true
Become a ‘dream detective’ and support your spouse in the pursuit of their dreams. My husband is writing, and I paid for an artist to do his book cover to show support. Know and support each other’s dreams.
- Pray together
Know each other’s prayer needs and pray together on a regular basis. It is known that couples who pray together are happier and have a lower rate of divorce.
- Invest time in relationships with your family and others
Time is a precious commodity amid busy schedules. Plan evenings and weekend days where you take a break from cell phones and computers. Find ways to spend quality time together have game nights, go berry picking or enjoy a coffee date asking each other meaningful questions.