My husband and I celebrated 26 years of marriage this past week! Yay!!!! Last year for the big 25th anniversary, I was going to blog about how we celebrated. Of course urgent things, aka normal life, came up and I kept putting it off, and lo and behold, here we are another year later and I never did blog about it! I still want to blog about it with perfection but until then, I thought you all would enjoy hearing from my dear friend of Veggie Gals’ fame, Joyce. Joyce is the powerhouse behind the Utah branch of the Consumer Funeral Alliance. She’s been blissfully married even longer than I have so she is more wise as to marriage. Joyce is one of the happiest people I know! She just exudes joy! So please read her 7 Keys to Marital Bliss posted below and enjoy! There is sooooo much wisdom in the following words! Whenever I think of Joyce I think of my 21 year old daughter because I was pregnant to near bursting at nearly nine months with her when Joyce and I first met. It was my first La Leche League meeting back in November of 1995. That means I have known Joyce for as many years as my daughter is old. Here’s to 26 years of marriage, almost 22 years of life for my daughter and almost 22 years of friendship with Joyce!
by Joyce Mitchell
It was challenging for me to be the spouse of an entrepreneur. The following insights worked like magic in improving my satisfaction and happiness. I’ve come to believe these insights can improve all relationships.
This booklet is written from a Mormon perspective because I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Feel free to take what you like and leave the rest.
If you ask God for help as you apply these keys and keep open to promptings (see Galatians 5:22), God will show you all kinds of help & healing.
Be humble AND honest with yourself and you will be successful.
Key #1 LETTING GO IS HELPING.
I awoke at 3 am to find that my husband, a BYU student at the time, was still not home from the computer lab. I usually worried, then nagged him home. This time I prayed for him to solve the problem he was working on, then I fell back to sleep. The next day I asked what time he solved his problem and he said, “3am.”
Wow! That made me awake to the fact that the power of prayer was on my side. I began with confidence, to put things I couldn’t control into God’s hands. I learned the importance of “praying in the spirit”, which means to be humble and repentant and open to God’s will when praying. (D&C 46:30)
Key #2 SEEK TO KNOW GOD.
First my husband was occupied with college then he started his own company. Our children demanded a lot of attention from me with little relief. I was overwhelmed.
In my efforts to “make things better” I tried: complaining, criticizing him, seeking entertainment, even focusing on our hope for success. None of these produced results.
Eventually I sought God with all my heart. What did God show me?
My own shortcomings.
So I repented of everything revealed to me, whenever I saw anything. I didn’t try to be perfect. I just gave self-examination all the honesty I had and Jesus provided the perfection.
Then one day, while driving my car I had a transformative experience.
As I pondered my gratitude for God I was engulfed with an infusion of His love.
Feeling God’s love satisfied a longing deep within. From then on I knew who to go to for attention, for comfort and for internal strength: God!
Seeking God instead of my spouse’s attention, instead of success, instead of anything, has blessed me to enjoy love and fulfillment I never knew possible.
Before this time I had what I refer to as a cold icicle heart and loved people only to the extent a hard heart could. But God gave me a new heart like He showed is possible in Ezekiel 36:26. Now I naturally exude love from God’s divine inflow of love that was always there but I used to block. I feel all good things more deeply and when I feel bad I can cry, to God.
Key # 3 ENJOY THE DAY.
Today is the day to enjoy, not a future day.
Life was a drag when I spent a day hoping for financial success or seeking to satisfy my flesh. Fantasy created yearning and dissatisfaction. I was not enjoying my day.
Many people try indulging in the desires of the flesh to enjoy the day. We buy stuff, eat a lot, watch shows… Eventually my flesh was driving me crazy. This made me seek the Holy Spirit to show me how to get through a day. I found satisfaction! Now when I want to “get a lot done” I pray instead to enjoy my day. Why? Joy is one of the fruits of the spirit (Gal 5:22) and “where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Cor 3:17) and I love to be free.
Key #4 EXTEND HOSPITALITY.
In D&C 25 God tells Emma Smith to “be a comfort to your husband, Joseph, with consoling words, in the spirit of meekness”… He concludes, “lift up thy heart and rejoice….let thy soul delight in thy husband and the glory which shall come upon him.”
This has been inspiring to me because there were many women in history whose husbands spent untold weeks, months and years away from their families, and here is the counsel of the Lord to one of those women. It is not worldly counsel.
So I applied it to myself. Since then I’m often on the lookout for ways I can comfort my husband, regardless of my circumstance or his.
I deal with any workplace drama or other negative influences around him without trying to meddle because my calling is “to be a comfort to him with consoling words (and humor) in a spirit of meekness, AND to let my soul delight in the GLORY which SHALL come upon him.“
For example, how can a man resist coming home when even the family pet couldn’t greet him with as much enthusiasm and adoration as his wife? Joyful greetings have become contagious in our home and has since become how we greet all regulars.
Key #5 FULFILL YOUR MISSION.
One day on vacation I had no obligations to anyone. I looked at a list of activities and felt joy rise up in my heart concerning one. It felt like a fountain of joy (John 4:14). So I honored the feeling by doing that activity and the results were so satisfying. From that day forward I’ve embraced that lesson to follow my joy.
Turns out joy is how the Holy Ghost guides me (D&C 11:13). So I kept following my joy, discovering passion for various interests. I began to recognize my gifts & talents as I sought to serve those interests. Now I feel like I’m fulfilling a purpose every day. Consequently, I let my husband and others follow their joy too. I trust that God can guide them just as well as He has guided me.
Now I enjoy all humans more than ever.
Key #6 BE CHASTE.
When I stopped indulging in sexual fantasy my spiritual progress in overcoming a food addiction really took off. D&C 63:16
To help me avoid fantasy I talk to God HONESTLY. He helps me sort out any misunderstandings influencing my thinking AND what to do about it.
When tempted I keep my mind on 1) the good things I feel in the moment 2) how to send my husband my love, 3) positive things that I admire or want in life (Phil 4:8), and 4) I pray for myself & others.
If your spouse is the one indulging in fantasy it helps to be patient, not punitive, and to apply the other keys. If distress is severe seek out the LDS 12 Principle meetings (designed to empower those trying to help an addict) See: ARP.LDS.org
Key #7: BELIEVE JESUS.
One day my husband went to a movie that I thought was stupid instead of spending time the way I felt he should. When he came home I was about to make him feel bad when the Holy Spirit reminded me that Jesus said it’s NOT ok to be angry. (Matt. 5:22,44-46, 1 Peter 3, 1 John 4:21-22).
I BELIEVED Jesus in that moment, turned right around and went to my room to pray. Upon asking I instantly felt the anger lift from me and go to Jesus and he took it. I was then able to see my husband clearly and interact in an up-building way. Since then I’ve noticed that every time I do what Jesus taught, the love and satisfaction in our marriage increases.
Here is an example of 3 things Jesus said that directly blessed me. He taught to believe on Him (John 6:28-29), to humble ourselves (James 4:6,10) and to choose to love (1 John 3:22-24). Every time I’ve chosen these things I’ve witnessed a miracle take place that has caused our marriage to go to a new, higher level, of satisfaction and happiness.
Afterwards our bliss also stayed at that new higher level without effort!
Really believing Jesus has truly blessed our marriage with MIRACLES.
4 books helped me over the years: Emmanuel Swedenborg’s Heaven & Hell expanded my perspective.
Bonds That Make Us Free helped me learn the truth about why I perceived other people as jerks and what to do about it.
And last but not least, daily reading of The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ & The Holy Bible, for me, have acted as daily medicine that clears the fog.
I testify that my husband and I live in marital bliss only as we access the inspiration and power of God. When we leave that we leave bliss.
May you receive marital bliss too, through the word of God continuously revelating to you, through the power and grace of Jesus Christ. (James 4:6)
After I was changed into a new person I was surprised that my husband still responded to me as though I hadn’t changed.
Since I had taught him for 10 yrs to expect me to criticize, complain and control I decided I would give him 10 years to see me in a new light.
It didn’t take that long. Giving him that space worked miracles and our joy increased again.
written April 2013, updated Jul 2017