There’s a hidden influence on the joy you have in your relationship with your beloved. Habits affect us in more ways than we realize. Unveiling their secrets gives us an opportunity to multiply our joy.
A habit is an activity that we do routinely. Some habits are addictive, pulling us back to their activities even when they are not beneficial. They rob us of joy. And when we lack personal joy, we cannot give joy to our beloved.
Philippians 4:8 prescribes the ingredients for a joy-filled relationship: “Whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy, focus on these things.” That’s an important habit — very beneficial but difficult to cultivate. It’s much easier to turn our attention to what angers us, what worries us, and what excites us in an unholy way.
Watching the news easily turns into following alerts and blogs that are designed to stir up fears and negative emotions (good news doesn’t get nearly as many viewers and subscribers). Who can come away from that feeling joyful? And who can begin an uplifting conversation with our sweetheart after that?
As couples in Christ we are called and commissioned to share good news with our beloved (and with the children). This includes helping them find God’s mercy in the sin that’s occurring in our world, hope amidst hardships, and the energy to make a difference that helps change the world. Can we do that if we’ve put ourselves into a state of anger and fear from filling our minds with bad news?
Anger and fear can (and should) be channeled into actions that lead to a better life and a better world. We are called to be Christ’s partners in dealing with evil. But if following the news doesn’t lead to Christ-centered action, we’re addicted to the negative. We’ve let bad news steal our joy. And this is unloving to our sweetheart and to everyone around us.
Reading Philippians 4:8 daily is a good habit. It empowers us to change our attitudes, and therefore our relationships, and therefore the world — with joy.
- How much joy do I normally feel each day?
- How much joy does my beloved normally feel?
Strengthen your relationship:
Analyze together your daily routines that affect moods. Which habits work against joy? Which habits increase joy? What will you do as a couple to reduce or stop joy-stealing habits? What will you do to reinforce the beneficial habits? In prayer, ask the Holy Spirit for assistance in accomplishing these goals.
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© 2016 by Terry Modica of Good News Ministries