MS: Setting a Pattern of Joy

Yesterday, Margery wrote a post about two videos about Fighting Bitterness, which you should check out because they are really great.

It got me thinking about how everyone says that the early stages of marriage are really awesome because you’re still high on all of the emotions and hormones (which, so far seems to be 100% true), and how you should make a point of making good memories to fall back on when times get tough.

I think married couples should be encouraged to make more than just good memories, but good habits as well. I mean, when we get a new car or a new pet, or move into a new place we make a point to go through certain motions everyday to be sure everything is done properly until we make them into a habit. It’s easier to do it at that stage because it is new and exciting, it doesn’t yet feel like an obligation. Much like you don’t wait to start looking behind your car when you back until after you run over something, you shouldn’t wait until times get tough to learn to forgive and appreciate your spouse. Make a point to associate tasks with good memories, so you’re more inclined to do them. This is also the best time for candid discussions about things that legitimately do bother you, so they don’t keep building until you blow over it. If you do suddenly explode, your spouse will be confused and hurt, and you will be angrier than will seem logical to anyone other than you. Ask your spouse about things you do that bother them and make an effort to work on them now, when you naturally tackle their every request with enthusiasm because you love them so. Also make a point to weed out friends who don’t respect your spouse now, rather than later. They will poison you if you don’t. They can’t hate your spouse and love you, the two of you are one flesh now, if they hate your spouse, they hate you too.

Reinforce these habits whenever you can, so it is easier to fall back on them even when times are bleak.

At the Catholic Engaged Encounter we attended, the priest told us a story about a couple who had been married a long time and got into a big fight. The wife left the husband a note saying something along the lines of, “I hate you and I’m going for a walk. Don’t forget to pack yourself a lunch, I love you” then signed with her name. She wrote “I love you” despite being incredibly angry with him. Another couple he knew had been married fifty years and people always assumed the marriage had been all roses. They surprised people with stories of hardship and heartache. When they were asked if they thought of divorce they would respond, “Murder, yes, but divorce, never!”

You’re in this for the long haul, be sure to pack the right attitude and habits.

As a bonus, here is a video sure to make you smile. It’s not simply funny or cute, but legitimately joyful. You’ll especially like it if you’re a fan of Singing in the Rain.

I promise it isn’t an AMV set to a terrible pop song.

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