Several years ago I wouldn’t have ever considered discussing this topic, however, been married for 26 years and putting into practice what I am going to share, I feel now experienced and qualified to do so.
Do you feel that you are a good judge of character? Meaning, after a brief encounter with someone you feel you know what type of person they are? Or maybe after spending time around another couple and based on their nonverbal cues or a few comments made between them you perceive that they may not be as happy as they want everyone to believe.
Well, for many years and even now I am convinced that I am a very good judge of character. It’s sort of like being able to see straight through a person, reading between the lines if you will. I really believe it’s a gift of discernment.
This gift didn’t come to me naturally, no I believe this was a gift that I developed over many years of watching and listening. I’m not sure if it’s anything special as a matter of fact I believe anyone can do exactly the same thing that I have so masterfully have been able to do by just paying attention.
Being able to see who a person really is behind the pretense is vitally important. Understanding one’s background, what they stand for and believe can help you steer clear of unforeseen hurt, financial difficulties, and wasting your valuable time.
The gift of discernment is especially important and comes in quite handy in marriage. Marriage will be one of the most rewarding and at the same time challenging contracts you will ever enter into. Unfortunately, for many married couples, they get stuck in the challenge, marinate in that space for way too long, and for some they decide to break ties and go their separate ways.
Disclaimer: what I will discuss here are ways to help restore happiness back into a marriage between two people who are genuinely capable and willing to put self aside for the sake of serving one another.
Restore means to bring back a previous right, practice, custom or situation; reinstate. How does a relationship get to the point where happiness needs to be restored, or reinstated? And what is the most important thing that can be done to restore happiness to a marriage?
When couples go through a challenging period in their relationship, I often wonder why many decide not to push past the hardship and remember the days of their courtship and the commitment they made towards one another.
For example, reminiscing on the time of how only minutes seem to pass as they talked for hours on the phone or the excitement and all the effort that was put forth into being their best during the early stages of dating.
Step 1. Rekindling the flame
Most couples have allowed the flame to go out of their marriage. Nevertheless, the flame can be reignited again simply by going back to the beginning. A time when each person would listen to one another intently for the purposes of trying to get to know each other.
It has been my experience that married couples have forgotten how to communicate well with one another. We stop talking and listening to one another. Maybe it’s that one person is doing all the talking and the other is not listening well. Nevertheless, whatever your particular scenario, a balance needs to be reestablished in order for there to be harmony in the relationship.
If you are not happy in your marriage chances are you feel like you are constantly being talked to and never being heard. This is can be extremely frustrating and eventually can cause you to shut down and not hear your spouse speaking to you at all.
Shutting down the lines of communication is never the route to take in creating a happy balance. Making every effort to patiently explain to your loved one that although you want to hear them, it is has become difficult because the two-way line of communication has been broken, and you would very much like to help it be restored.
Ask them out on a date to have this talk. Set the mood in an environment that is pleasant, relaxing and enjoyable, have this conversation in a place that reflects your desired outcome.
Step 2. Focus on areas of strength
It’s amazing how many married couples feel they know each other really well but are unhappy in their relationship. I’ve heard many times “I know my husband or wife better than they know themselves.”
Wow, if that’s the case you are way ahead of restoring happiness back into your marriage than most people who are struggling in their relationship. Why? Because you know your partner so well, it will be easier for you to understand exactly how to serve your spouse in your marriage in order to restore happiness.
I have no doubt that the statement of knowing a spouse better than them knowing themselves is true. Because I have said it many times myself. I have been with my husband long enough to know beforehand exactly what he is going to say, what he is going to do and how he is going to follow through or change his plan altogether.
It took some time in my relationship to realize that there was power in knowing my husband so well. I eventually understood that some of his intricate ways, that I felt drove me bananas was the very characteristics that drew me to him when we first met. I decided that instead of trying to change who he was that it would prove better to focus on areas that I admired in him.
Restoring happiness in a marriage has everything to do with focusing on your spouse’s areas of strength. We’ve also heard the saying “nobody is perfect”. Well if so, let us not focus on imperfections, trust me most of us know the areas that we are not excelling in, it really doesn’t help to have the person who has committed to love you and stand by your side to point these areas out every opportunity presented.
A more effective way to address your areas of concerns about your spouse would be to go to step 1. Have a conversation with your spouse. State your concern, possibly that you’ve noticed that they have been distracted, disappointed, or frustrated and if they would like to talk about it, and ask how you might be able to help.
Most importantly prepare yourself for the answer. Realize your purpose in asking the question is to uplift and lend your support. Your spouse may or may not be ready to talk about it, be patient. You bringing it up has demonstrated clearly to them that you are a supportive and loving force that is there when they are ready, which in turn is taking one step closer to restoring happiness back into your marriage.
Remember, it’s easy to focus on the negative because it is all around us.
Step 3. Be your best self
I’m going to assume most of us have all heard the saying “misery loves company.” Well, this also is the case in most unhappy marriages. I have met scores of couples who either the husband or wife is genuinely the sweetest most caring person in the world but the other spouse is miserable in the marriage!
I would scratch my head trying to understand why anyone would be unhappy being married to a person who gives so much of themselves. Until that gift that I spoke about at the beginning that I possess kicked in. That miserable party was unhappy with themselves and was displacing their happiness onto their marriage!
There are many people who are miserable with themselves, the source could be one of many things such as low self-esteem, insecurity, unfavorable circumstances, and trials or depression. However, they fail to recognize this but instead choose to blame others often their spouse as the prime source of their unhappiness.
Maybe you were hurt in the past and never worked through it prior to meeting your spouse, or maybe you’ve put on a few pounds over the years and it’s affected your self-esteem or possibly you’re disappointed and unhappy because you’ve allowed fear to stop you from moving forward in pursuing a life dream or goal.
In order to put forth your best effort into restoring happiness back into your marriage, you must examine yourself and recognize areas of needed self-growth and repair.
Maybe you need to start counseling, implement daily exercise, change your diet or finally take the first step in moving forward in accomplishing that one life dream you’ve always wanted to do.
Of course, these are all just examples of underlying reasons for your unhappiness. Whatever the reason, in order to restore happiness back into your marriage you must be honest with yourself and take the appropriate steps to be in your best mental and physical state.
By removing your spouse as the unwarranted source of your unhappiness is another powerful step in restoring happiness back into your marriage.
Step 4. Set Priorities
Out of all the steps, this is probably the one that most marriages are affected by the most. Not making your marriage a priority and put in the required maintenance in maintaining a happy, healthy marriage.
It happens, we get the job, then comes the awesome promotion, along with the networking events, the traveling, and the social clubs we are constantly being pulled away. Then there are the children and their activities that require more of your time. The list of what can get in the way of spending time in nurturing marriages is extremely long.
All of these responsibilities although important can take there toll on a relationship if there is not a strong effort put forth into make the marriage a priority by spending quality time with one another without distractions.
Think about how much time and effort you put into a new task at work or a DIY project at home because you need or want it to turn out absolutely perfect.
Now think for a moment if you put that same effort and drive into making sure you are building a solid happy marriage, is it the same?
Making your marriage a priority and routinely spending quality time with your spouse is key in restoring happiness back into your marriage. My husband made it a daily practice to simply ask me “how are you love, how was your day?” By him showing he cared about me and giving me his undivided attention at least once a day was key in our relationship.
Other times my husband would get a phone call while we were together and without fail he would say to the caller ” Hey let me call you back I’m with my wife right now and we are spending some time together.” Again him making me the priority and telling others that he was doing so made me very happy.
For me, this is the most powerful step. Prayer is key in restoring happiness back into your marriage. Honestly, you could have 100 steps in restoring happiness back into your marriage but everything done in our own strength is difficult if not impossible.
There are so many different variables when it comes to marriages and it’s difficult to pinpoint them all. You could carry out all the steps perfectly but your spouse may not be ready to receive any of it. Or the process and seeing results may take longer than you want.
That’s why prayer is key. I learned almost too late in my marriage that I needed divine help in helping restore happiness back into my marriage. As my husband and I both prayed these simple steps were revealed. I realized that this marriage was bigger than me and that in order for it to be successful I needed the guidance from the Lord above.
I also knew that it wouldn’t be fruitful for me to pray that God changes my spouse to make me happy. But that I needed to pray that God changed me so that I would become a willing vessel to serve others especially my spouse.
When you serve and honor your spouse the way God wants you to you will experience restored happiness. Ultimately it is God who reads the hearts and knows exactly what your marriage is lacking and what your spouse’s innermost desires and needs are.
God is the ultimate guide and through praying for your marriage you will experience positive change and happiness. I recently wrote a post entitled 7 Powerful Scriptures To Pray Over Your Family.
I discussed earlier how I came about the gift of discernment through watching and listening, however, I didn’t say who I was watching and listening to. By now if you’ve made it to this point you’ve probably guessed it.
Yes, I saw the need, prayed, and listened to what God was telling me. Put into practice these steps and many years ago found joy from having the happiness restored back into my marriage.