One reason I married my husband was his sense of humor. It sounds shallow, but I had a three item list of what I was looking for in a husband: 1. Love for God, 2. Desire to serve God, 3. Sense of humor. Somehow I connected a sense of humor and a good laugh with “living happily ever after.”
It’s proved to be true. My husband has a loud, infectious laugh, and one thing that brings joy and happiness to our marriage is lying in bed at night, talking about old times or funny things, and laughing ourselves silly.
After almost 20 years of marriage, living happily ever after can seem elusive as life grows more complicated. We have more responsibilities, health issues, financial concerns, and the desire to adequately equip our teenagers for getting a good start in life. Stress abounds, but paradoxically, I’ve never been happier.
I’m learning that happiness isn’t just about what happens to a person, but it’s something you can cultivate and learn, and it starts with choosing happiness now instead of expecting that a new baby, house, job, pay raise, or retirement will make life better. Happiness starts at home when you realize every day that you can be happy with what you have and where you are now.
Open your eyes to the beauty of now. Be mindful of small joys in life and savor them as gifts from God.
No matter how I feel, the physical act of smiling lifts my spirits. It sounds crazy to smile all by yourself while you’re doing the laundry, but sometimes I do. I smile because it puts me in touch with the fact that that I’m a dearly loved and blessed child of God. Smiling communicates joy and love to others as well.
Listen and talk to those precious people living right under your nose at home. Encourage them. Treasure them. Go on walks with your husband. Say yes when your daughter asks if you want to play monopoly Call family members and reach out to your friends more often. Studies show that nothing makes us happier than connections.
Spend Time Doing What You Enjoy
I love reading, being outdoors, and creative cooking. When I’m hard-pressed for time, I go for things I can do in fifteen minutes: fifteen minutes with a book before bed, fifteen minutes to walk around the block before I start dinner. A fifteen minute baby step has great paybacks towards helping me avoid a martyr complex and feel like I have time for what I enjoy.
Enjoying What You’re Doing NOW
Years ago when I was bemoaning how I never had time for hobbies and fun, a friend startled me with this question, “Why don’t you just enjoy what you’re doing right now?” Since then my daily prayer is that God would help me to enjoy my work: home schooling, cleaning, and grocery store runs.
I try to be intentional about choosing happily ever after, but some days I whine and complain and my attitude goes down the drain. What do you think? How much of happiness is a choice?