Marriage Advice From A Christian Perspective

10 Characteristics of a Joyous Marriage

10 Characteristics of a Joyous Marriage

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10

What's the key to a happy and healthy marriage? Many married couples have asked this at some point, from newlyweds to the couple celebrating their golden year. Maybe that couple has actually discovered what the key is, and we should be seeking their wisdom. However, if you're still searching and striving to (cue the music) live, "Happily Ever After," don't lose hope, the key may be different than you think, but the reward comes with great joy!

The truth is marriage was designed to bring two flawed people together for one beautiful purpose. God intended it for good. But sadly, our society has twisted that truth while embracing radical beliefs about this most sacred of human relations. In turn, it's leading many (including believers) astray, failing to recognize the plan and purpose God has for marriage.

If we're looking to live happily ever after, we're missing the point. We will quickly become discouraged and disappointed. God's purpose for our marriage isn't to make us happy (although that can be an added benefit at times), but rather to join us together for His greater good. Marriage isn't so much about us but rather about our God who created it. Instead of seeking happiness, which is fleeting and based on our circumstances, we should be seeking joy, which comes from trusting God. Did you catch the key there, my friend?

God wants our marriages to succeed and to prosper. He wants us to love one another as described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. He commands us to be fruitful and multiply, bringing up children in a righteous and loving home (Genesis 1:28, Proverbs 22:6). And He asks us to honor the gift found in marriage by placing His authority above the union by being faithful to one another. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, Hebrews 13:4).

God gave us roles as husband and wife to fulfill this purpose. We can find that in Ephesians 5: 22-33. Both husband and wife are called to submit to the Lord's will fully. While the husband is to lead and give himself up for his wife as Christ did the church, the wife is to submit by respecting that role God gave her husband. By embracing these roles, we invite joy into our marriage.

When we choose to view marriage the way our God does, we begin to seek joy, not happiness. Where the world will focus on our happiness and even offer us easy ways to bail out when times get tough, our merciful God offers us hope. He tells us two are better than one. And, marriages that center around Him, being a cord of three, will not easily be broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:12) God reminds us to remain steadfast and seek Him during trials, even considering it joy as He remains the constant source of strength. (Nehemiah 8:10b)

Once we grasp the purpose of our marriage and see that God's design for a husband and a wife was all part of His beautiful plan, we can begin to fully trust God and live "Joyfully Ever After."

Here are some ways you and your sweetheart can do just that.

1. Share Love Freely

This might sound obvious but get to know how your spouse wants to be loved. If you're not sure, watch how they love you, and that might give you a clue. Or just flat out ask them how you can love them best. Sometimes, just a simple gesture goes a long way. Smile. Offer to cook dinner. Rub their feet. Snuggle on the couch. You get the idea.

Related article: How Knowing the Love Languages Can Help Your Marriage

2. Be Thankful

There really is something about being thankful that can change our perspective. Try telling your spouse why you are grateful for them and watch them glow. Ask yourself, how do they contribute to the family? How do they make you feel cherished or loved? What are the little things they do that help you? Then share that with them!

3. Forgive Quickly

It may be easier said than done, but we have to extend forgiveness. It only builds up resentment in our own hearts when we don't. God commands us to be quick to forgive as He knows it's in our best interest. When we offer a kind heart in forgiveness, it allows us to receive God's mercy and grace when we fail. (Ephesians 4:32)

4. Offer Your Servant-Heart

From making her cup of coffee in the morning to stepping away from the distractions with the kids and offering him a shoulder rub, these actions can bring so much joy to your spouse. Not only that but we are called to serve like Christ. (Philippians 2:3-8) We are to put our spouse's needs above our own. When we serve one another this way, striving to outdo one another in love, God can use it to call us to an even greater purpose—often calling us to do good works in His name together!

5. Add in a Little Fun

There is something about having fun together that sparks joy. Just a good belly laugh can cure a little tension in a marriage. Go on date nights and spend time together alone, regularly. Relive those dates before you were married. Share those looks and exchange jokes that only the two of you get. Show your kids that a healthy marriage has fun and spends time together.

6. Intimacy Matters

When we forget to be physically intimate with one another, we can easily drift apart. Busyness and bitterness are joy killers and can quickly steal the physical intimacy in your marriage. Open up the line of communication and let your spouse know what you need from them in this area. A wife will not quickly become intimate if she doesn't feel cherished, and a husband won't easily become intimate if he feels he will be rejected. Start with a modest gesture, like reaching for their hand to bring the joy back physically. Just know that it often takes time and trust to build intimacy.

Related articles:

3 Types of Intimacy in Marriage (and Tips for Rekindling it!)'

How to Maintain Intimacy in Your Marriage

7. Listen Attentively to One Another

We live in a tech-savvy world and are immersed in it daily. It's ever so easy to tune the world out and mindlessly scroll through whatever is in front of us. But, our spouses need us. They need us to look up from our phones. They need our undivided attention. When we don't feel heard, it can build up walls, and our communication will slowly deteriorate. Put boundaries in place in this area, so the line of communication is always open.

8. Try to be Understanding

There is a lot of emotion that comes into a marriage. Two very different people with vastly different ways of handling this life are now joined together as one. Needless to say, misunderstandings are going to happen. Be open-minded. Try to match your spouse's feelings, ask questions, and restate things they say to validate their feelings.

9. Remain Optimistic

Life blunders are bound to happen. Hard and devastating things are part of this life. But, a couple that chooses to remain steadfast and stay the course will be able to grow stronger because of the trials. Relying on God for strength and believing the best in your marriage will help you remain optimistic and pull you away from the distractions (and lies) of the world.

10. Dream Together

Maybe you've heard the saying, couples that pray together, stay together? I believe the same is true when it comes to dreaming with our spouse. God has a way of placing things on our hearts to fulfill a purpose that can only be done if we seek His will - together. When we share our hearts and goals with one another and choose to be obedient and trust God, He will use us in a way that is far beyond our own wildest dreams! A couple with a heart on fire for God, seeking to dream big and live boldly, won't just have joy but will share it, too!

Related article: How to Help Your Spouse Achieve Their Goals

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/XiXinXing

Alicia SearlAlicia Searl is a devotional author, blogger, and speaker that is passionate about pouring out her heart and pointing ladies of all ages back to Jesus. She has an education background and master’s in literacy.  Her favorite people call her Mom, which is why much of her time is spent cheering them on at a softball game or dance class. She is married to her heartthrob (a tall, spiky-haired blond) who can whip up a mean latte. She sips that goodness while writing her heart on a page while her puppy licks her feet. Visit her website at and connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.

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