Whenever you meet a newly married couple, neither one says that they plan to be unhappy later in their marriage. Nobody goes into marriage hoping to be miserable in it, or planning for a divorce. They just don’t! Then why do so many couples struggle? Why are so many people searching the internet looking for tips or secrets for a joyful marriage?
It’s because a happy marriage takes work. It takes time, effort, and commitment from both partners. And let’s be honest, even the best couples have their problems. Before we get to
9 secrets to a joyful marriage, let’s first define what a marriage is, specifically speaking to what it is in the Bible. We’ll also talk about why joy is such an important part of every marriage!
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Table of Contents
What is Marriage in the Bible?
Society today says that any two people who love each other can be married. It also tells us that marriage isn’t permanent. If someone gets bored, they can just leave and find someone new.
My husband and I are both Christians, so we take our definition of marriage from the Bible, which we believe is God’s word. Genesis 2:24 says that, “a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” By building a marriage in God’s way, as a union where two people become one unit, you will have started a foundation for peace and joy in your marriage.
Why is Joy So Important in Marriage?
So, why is joy so important in marriage? Most people think when you talk about joy, you’re also talking about happiness at the same time. But actually, the two words don’t mean the same thing at all.
Happiness has to do with circumstances. People can be happy, or sad, depending on what’s going on around them. You can’t expect someone who’s experienced great loss to be happy, can you? That just doesn’t make sense.
But, that same person, even though they are grieving, might still have joy in their heart. The same thing can be true with your marriage. Even when hard times come, and they will come in your married life, you can still have a joyful marriage! The trouble comes when you cannot find any joy in your married life.
When people become unhappy in their married life, they start thinking all the joy has left their marriage. And then, they start looking for other places to fill that need for joy in their lives. But, as we said before, happiness doesn’t equal joy. You might not always be happy with your spouse. In fact, you probably won’t be. A joyful marriage takes commitment and work from both partners every day.
9 Secrets for a Joyful Marriage
We’ve already talked about the fact that a joyful marriage takes work and commitment. Each partner has to be invested for the marriage to have joy, and to continue thriving, even when your marriage is dealing with some difficulties. Here are 9 secrets my husband and I use to help make a joyful marriage.
Communication is Key for a Joyful Marriage
Communication is extremely important in any successful marriage. In fact, it is one of the most important bits of advice for anyone in order to have a joyful marriage.
Communication needs to be ongoing, and it also needs to be a two-way street between both partners. When one partner never feels heard, then their needs in the relationship aren’t being met.
Communicating well with your spouse can also help resolve conflicts and build a strong foundation of trust. During the first 15 years of our marriage, my husband and I worked different shifts. We didn’t see each other much during the week, so we had to find other ways to communicate. Cell phones were our best friends for many, many years!!! There were also a lot of nights we stayed up all night arguing, so we wouldn’t go to bed angry, lol!
Respect and Love Your Spouse
Showing respect and love to your spouse is another key component in having a joyful marriage. Both the husband and wife should be treating each other with respect, kindness, and love. A marriage should be one of the most selfless kinds of love, where, each partner is thinking of the other’s needs over themselves. Even if your spouse isn’t showing you this selfless love (or you don’t feel like they are) you should really do your part to show this selfless love and respect to them.
In 1 Peter 3, wives are told to respect (or sometimes submit to) their husbands, and husbands are told to love their wives. Sometimes these words can be seen as a bad thing, and that is definitely true in a domestic violence situation (I would suggest anyone who’s in this type of situation seek help immediately). But, I think God knew what He was doing when speaking the love language of most men. Most men’s love language is to be respected. When your husband feels respected, then they feel loved.
The same can be true for women. For most of us, when we feel cherished, we feel loved. If we don’t feel cherished and important, even if we are, our feelings of love tend to die down. So, whatever way your spouse needs you to show them love and respect, be sure to do that, and do it often.
Bring Your Spouse Joy By Making Them a Priority
Another big step for building a joyful marriage is making your spouse a priority in your daily life. This one is oh-so-important but oh-so tricky. It’s tricky because we get busy. We don’t mean to push our spouse to the back burner, but that’s often exactly what we do.
First, it’s our job. We both want to do well in our careers and make a good impression. Then many couples have kids. You all, kids take up a lot of time!!! With work, and kids, and church, and any other volunteer commitments, it’s no wonder weekly date nights get pushed back to monthly date nights, and then maybe who knows when?
There’s no better way to bring joy to your spouse than to prioritize your relationship! You may not have a ton of time, especially if you’re running kids from one event to another 7 days a week. But you must do it!
When our kids were in middle school, they weren’t driving, but they were doing after-school sports/clubs. Our youngest 2 were involved in the Student Technology Leadership Program (STLP), both girls ran track and played soccer for the middle school, and our oldest played club soccer. We were also all in martial arts, so of course we were busy! It was super hard then to have date nights with my husband. Even now, with the kids grown, we’re working more hours, so we often feel even more busy than before. But we still make time for each other. It’s a priority for our marriage.
A Joyful Marriage Needs Romance and Intimacy
Another great secret of a solid joyful marriage is that the partners make sure they keep the romance and intimacy alive! They know that these feelings of love aren’t just going to happen without commitment and work, so they do the things to keep it going.
Couples that do this work on deepening their connection to each other over time. They invest time together as not only lovers but friends as well. You hear people talk about marrying their best friend, and I definitely think that is a blessing. But it doesn’t just happen. It takes spending quality time together, sharing your hopes and dreams, and building a life together.
Another great way to keep the romance alive is by doing things you both enjoy. One thing my husband and I both enjoy doing together is travel. When the kids were younger we took them with us, but now it’s just the two of us most of the time. We love exploring new places, and revisiting some of our favorites! Sedona, Arizona is a favorite of both of us. In fact, we are looking to possibly purchase a rental property there in the future, so we have a place to stay whenever we visit!!!
Making your spouse feel special will also increase your intimacy and joy in your marriage. Let them know you still find them desirable. Point out their attractive physical traits, along with their personality. A little wooing can’t hurt either. Find out what makes your husband (or wife) feel special, and say or do those things. Trust me, you’ll be surprised how well it works!
Work Together as a Team for a Joyful Marriage
Working as a team is crucial when you want to have joy in your marriage. This one might not seem important and can slip by you, but trust that it’s an important one for both you and your spouse.
The art of compromise seems to be lost in our society today. With the all-about-me syndrome going around, nobody wants to give a little to make peace. But that’s what you have to do in a marriage. Sometimes you may have to give up what you want for the greater good. Or maybe, you both have to give in a little to meet each other in the middle. That’s the art of compromise.
You should also make sure you and your spouse are working together as a team. This is especially true when it comes to dealing with the kids. Playing good cop/bad cop has its advantages at times. But you should really present a united front when it comes to parenting your children.
My husband and I have both excelled and struggled in this area at times. For the most part, we’ve stood together on discipline, and we have never, never wavered in raising our kids in our faith. But sometimes, we both disagreed on the execution, and we let it show.
When the hubs worked the night shift, he didn’t want Sunday night play time to end. He had limited time with the kids, so this was understandable, but getting them all wound up and off of their bedtime routine was a huge pain in my butt come 6:30 a.m.! He should have realized the problems his behaviors were causing me, but he didn’t.
I was the problem during their teenage years. My husband would really have an issue with something one of the kids had done or said. It wasn’t as big of a deal to me, so I didn’t back my husband up on his discipline. I should have realized that my neglecting to say something was hurting my husband’s feelings, but I didn’t. These are just two examples of ways we both could have worked better as a team in our marriage!
Happy Couples Support Each Other Through Challenges
Knowing your spouse has got your back is another key element in a joyful marriage. You must know that your spouse will support you through any challenge you face, and your spouse must know that you will be there for any challenge they face, no matter what. No questions asked, and no excuses for getting out of it.
Every couple will have plenty of chances to practice this bit of advice during their marriage. From work to family to financial stressors, we all have challenges facing us many times during our lives.
When we had been married almost 10 years, had 2 young girls, and were in the process of adopting a 5-year-old son, I found out I had a cancerous tumor in my small intestine. Talk about a challenge!!! Within a month I had major intestinal surgery, our 10th anniversary, our adoption was finalized, and started 6 months of chemo. Of course, we had a huge network of support from our friends, family, and church family. But knowing my husband was there every step gave me the strength to keep going when things got so, so, so hard!!! He was so patient, and so understanding with me through it all. I hope that I’ve been half of that for him over the years.
Remember to Have Fun Together for a Joyful Marriage
Through all of the challenges and all of the work it takes to make a marriage, well, work, it’s still important to remember what made your partner fun in the first place. Why did you choose them? Remembering to have fun together will help you continue to build a joyful marriage now and in the years to come.
This can be extremely difficult, especially through the tough times in your relationship. When everything seems to be going wrong around you, it can be hard to keep a positive attitude. When your relationship is strong, you might not give your marriage the attention it deserves during the rough times in your life. You’re so busy putting out the fires in other areas that you both might be neglecting each other. But I think it’s important to spend some time together doing the things you love to do as a couple. This is an awesome secret that couples in a joyful marriage remember to do!
Grow Your Faith Together Through Worship and Prayer
As a Christian, I’m very thankful to have a husband that shares my faith. We’ve been blessed to both be raised in similar backgrounds. We have also had the opportunity to raise our children in an active church family. Growing our faith together through worship and prayer has been a huge step in having a successful marriage.
Over the years, we’ve spent a lot of time in prayer and reading the Bible together. We’ve also spent time reading Bible stories to our kids as part of our nighttime reading before bed.
When our kids were little, we started going to the church we attend now, which is where my husband grew up. It’s been a great church to raise a family and to grow our kids’ faith in Christ. Our church family has also been a huge support throughout the years when we’ve needed them. They also offer some excellent outreach programs, where we can learn to give back and share the love of Jesus with others!
Remember to Ask For and Show Forgiveness Daily
In my opinion, the most important secret to a joyful marriage is forgiveness. You are human and so is your spouse. You’re going to mess up. In order to have the most joy in your marriage possible, you need to remember to ask for and show forgiveness to your spouse daily.
Marriage requires a lot of give and take from each person. What was cute and adorable in the first year can be flat-out annoying after 27 years (trust me, I know)! You have to be willing to make allowances and let go of grudges in your marriage, or you’ll never make it through it.
Ephesians 4:32 reminds us to, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” God forgave us through Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice. If he can do that for you and me, surely we can do that for our spouses each and every day.
A Joyful Marriage Requires Work
Anyone who wants a joyful marriage needs to be willing to put in the effort to make it work. These 9 secrets will help you make your marriage a successful and loving one. Can you think of any tips for a happy marriage? Feel free to comment below if you have any suggestions or thoughts. And don’t forget to subscribe to receive updates and free resources!!!