Written by Special Guest Contributor: Cindy Goff

Recently I've been humming the childhood Sunday school song, “I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart”. All together now, "WHERE?" "Down in my heart!"...you probably know the rest. Now you'll be humming it too.

In an attempt to discern the catalyst for remembering this song, I reflected on my past week's activities.  My husband, Will, suggested that it was time to finally venture out of our community for a boat ride.  I believe his desire was the beginning of this “joyful journey”. 

It felt exhilarating to be out of quarantine and enjoy the surroundings without concern!  As we docked, our captain was playing Pharrell William's song, “Happy”.  I did feel happy, “like a room without a roof”!  That brief trip continues to bring me delight as I recall its' events. How thankful I am that we took that respite.  

God has designed us to live beyond ourselves in order to experience an abundant life.  Will and I have been practicing simple steps which assist us in experiencing a joyful marriage.  We identified the need to relax and enjoy each other.  We assessed the cost involved to “venture out”.  We developed an action plan for our outing and walked in confidence that God would bless our time of recreation.

“You make known to me the path of life, in your presence there is fullness of joy..”Psalm 16:11a

There always seems to be logical reasons not to break out of our routine and ignore our need to relax and enjoy each other. God has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit as a filter which allows us to see and experience what He has provided with “new eyes”.  John Piper defined joy as follows:  “Christian joy is a good feeling in the soul produced by the Holy Spirit, as he causes us to see the beauty of Christ in the word and in the world”. 

As enjoyable as that moment was, as a Christian my source of joy is not just the external, but is supposed to first be from my Lord.  “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that you may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Spirit”, Romans 15:13.  As the resent external events in our world have shown, they are not a reliable pace to seek joy from. I am learning that in order to have a joyful life I must be intentional

God designed marriage so that together we may experience delight, be happy, receiving  joy “down in our hearts!"  It is easy to agree that joy is vital in our lives/marriages, but action is required in order to experience it. 

These questions may assist you in that process.

  1. When and under what circumstances, was the last time you and your spouse experienced pure joy?
  2. How intentional are you and your spouse in creating enjoyable times, i.e., date nights?
  3. Brain storm together, list potential dates and put one on the calendar!
  4. Are we also as a couple experiencing joy "in the Lord?" i.e. times of prayer, reading the Bible, reading books, etc?

God has uniquely designed our marriage experience to include intimacy and joy in our relationship with God and also with our spouse. Make sure you are intentionally creating time for both. This is a recipe for success and a way to keep that "joy, joy, joy, joy, down in your heart...to stay!"

Christian Family Life is a marriage discipleship ministry. We are here to offer resources and support no matter what condition your marriage is in. Our passion is to Build, Enrich, and Reconcile Marriages. Find out more at https://www.christianfamilylife.com/

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