People often ask me how I have maintained a happy marriage for almost 31 years, and why I think my children have turned out to all love God and be leaders. Honestly, we all love to laugh and believe that laughter or a cheerful heart is as God's Word proclaims, "good medicine." (Prov 17:22) Being positive has its perks!

Today, many couples are feeling the stress of tightening their belts because of an unpredictable economy, job loss, or underemployment. Or perhaps you are dealing with a tough circumstance like a health issue, a prodigal child or caring for aging parents. Too often when a couple is under stress, their default setting is to turn on each other and attack or criticize. We suggest instead of being negative to learn be positive and LOL (Laugh Out Loud) with God when life has you singing the blues. So instead of picking on your mate, try one of these ideas to gain a new attitude — and likely a new way to relate to those you love:

1. Be proactive. Do something you know you have enjoyed in the past that is healthy and good for you both: a walk on the beach, check a favorite book out of the library, watch a favorite comedy movie or go to a comedy drama production, or read a joke book or joke page online (the clean ones only).

2. Be relational: Call a friend — or your mother! Make a connection with someone you love and who loves you: your husband, son, daughter, mom, dad, sister, brother, in law, friend or mentor. Our loved ones can give us a fresh perspective.

3. Be productive: Work! Often accomplishing something will help you feel better about yourself or life. Even better - work on a project with your spouse. Accomplishing something together will build your sense of unity and excitement.
 

4. Be organized: Seasonal cleaning or revamping the drawer and closet can be cathartic. A fresh start can come with fresh, clean surroundings. We know, it's hard to believe cleaning house might make you feel better—but it can! And watch your spouse's mood lift as you make your home a nicer place to live.

5. Be active: Exercise releases endorphins, and you will feel better about life (and about yourself) after working out.  

6. Be a model: Do a personal make over. Go to the mall and have a free makeup makeover at the cosmetic counter of a department store or invite a friend over and have her mix and match your wardrobe for some new looks.

7. Be relaxed: Have a spa day (at a spa or at home). Give yourself a facial, manicure, pedicure or sit in a Jacuzzi. If you have funds, splurge for a massage at a reputable spa or health club. Or, gift your spouse with a trip to the spa for a massage.

8. Be smart: See a doctor, counselor, member of the clergy or health professional. Attack the blues from all sides: get checked out physically, emotionally and spiritually to find the root of your depression or grief.

9. Be a kid: Enjoy something you used to love: a banana split at the ice cream store, fly a kit, skate, swim, dance, or take the dog for a walk or curl up with the kitty.

10. Be reflective: See if you can trace you blues back to a wrong decision you made then correct it. Get out of that sin, move yourself out of a downward spiral by admitting the truth to God (and/ or your mate), or say "I'm sorry". Obedience to God's plan brings more joy than words can tell.   

 

October 20, 2010

Adapted from LOL with God by Pam Farrel and Dawn Wilson  (Focus on the Family/Tyndale) Bill and Pam Farrel are relationship experts and authors of over 30 books including best selling Men are like Waffles, Women are like Spaghetti. Pam: www.pamandbill.org.