If you’ve been following along this past year, every week I’ve been writing a blog post each week specifically about a joy that I have found in my marriage that week. Well, that project is now done with, and I don’t know if I’ve ever been as consistent with a project like this before, especially one that is every week for a whole year! You can read here why I started this project in the first place. A quick excerpt from it that explains my main WHY:
“I don’t like the pressure that comes with trying to be happy. It’s as if we think we aren’t/won’t/can’t be overall happy if the majority of our day had sad or difficult moments. It’s the same thing if you apply it to marriage.
I believe that if we focus on the joys in marriage, we can have a better outlook on it; from the current circumstances to the future success of it. So my plan is to share a joy in my marriage every week! Because with seven days, even the unhappy marriages can find something to be joyous about! It’s about the little victories people! Those build to make up the big victories!”
My overall thoughts:
I wouldn’t say there’s one ultimate question to whether or not this project was good for my marriage or not, so I’ll answer it will a few smaller questions:
- Did I find more joy in my marriage from doing this project? YES.
- Did it make me feel more positively towards my marriage, having to search for the positives? YES.
- Did I necessarily like having to do this on days when I was frustrated with my marriage, or feeling depressed individually? NO. haha. But having to do so was still a helpful practice for me to get through that frustration.
- Would I do it again? NO AND YES. (Let me explain below)
I realized about 40% of the way through this project that it was getting harder to be vulnerable publically every week in sharing my joys. Especially because some of them were so personal. Some of the REAL joys that happened throughout my week I kept to myself because they were not joys I wanted to share with everyone, haha. So I shared other less significant joys in the blog posts with you and kept those other ones to myself. :)
To combat this feeling of vulnerability, I would suggest doing this project on your own, like in a journal! It became a great way to document different events and thoughts in our marriage this year, for sure! So it was a way for me to keep up with that kind of journaling. I think when you know no one but you and/or your spouse is going to see those personal joys you’ve written down, you can get more from this exercise. You dig a little deeper and express yourself better.
The ultimate lesson I learned
A huge positive that I learned with help from our scripture study a few weeks ago (in the Book of Mormon 2 Nephi chapter 2), is that joy is not something that always comes naturally and is always there. It’s learned and recognized. We have to know the bad days in order to know what a good day feels like; experience the misery in order to know what joy feels like. Which ultimately tells me that joy derives from characteristics of gratitude, appreciation, and humility.
A year ago, I had this personal epiphany that we should seek joy rather than happiness because I was realizing how fleeting “happiness” truly is. It’s something we feel pressured to continually chase, even though it’s a state of being that is impossible to keep with you every single day of your life. (I mean, HELLO, bad stuff happens in life!) But joy is different. Joy focuses on moments, making the phrase “be joyful” more attainable in everyday life and circumstances.
And now, a year later, I’ve learned for myself even further that happiness is something we each feel entitled to have — that other people, events, or things should provide our happiness for us. Joy, however, though sometimes can be instantly felt, is something we have to put an effort into receiving. It’s humbling, which in turn, increases our gratitude and appreciation.
I love that.
It’s something we can ABSOLUTELY apply to our marriages! In order to avoid an “unhappy” marriage, we have to develop our characteristics of gratitude, appreciation, and humility. These characteristics are so crucial to a joyful and fresh marriage! I encourage you to attempt your own version of this “A Joyful Marriage” project for yourself and for your marriage in 2018! Don’t feel the need to be public like I was, so that you can share those joys of, “We made love 13 times this week and it was magical!” without being TMI, hahaha. Do something that help you come to this conclusion of striving for joyful moments in your marriage!