John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)” (AMP).
Having joy in abundance is not dependent on our outward circumstances. Joy is a choice, just as being miserable is a choice. We have a choice each day to enjoy our marriages or to be miserable in it.
I used to be a miserable wife. I was even miserable when there wasn’t anything to be depressed about. People would often come up to me and tell me to smile. I wore my unhappiness and everyone could see it.
I would try to be joyful, but I didn’t know how to. I didn’t know the choices I was making each day were causing my misery. As God started working in me, He began to show me what I was allowing the enemy to use to steal my joy.
There are many different things Satan tempts us with in order to steal our joy. If we learn to recognize these temptations we can stand against him and not allow him to succeed.
These are the five “D’s” Satan uses to depress us:
All the days of the desponding and afflicted are made evil [by anxious thoughts and forebodings], but he who has a glad heart has a continual feast [regardless of circumstances].
—Proverbs 15:15, AMP
There are going to be disappointments in our marriages. We are imperfect beings and we disappoint one another. However, we don’t have to dwell on disappointments and allow them to steal our joy.
Our thoughts control our emotions. If we are constantly disappointed, then we are dwelling on wrong thoughts. If we are constantly disappointed in our spouses, then we are dwelling on their faults. The Bible tells us to set our minds on things above, not on earthly things (Colossians 3:2). We should be meditating on what the Bible says regarding our spouses and our marriages. We should be thinking what God can do in our marriages, not what we see in the natural.
We can choose to think positive even when our marriages are being tried and tested. We can choose to think positive even when our spouses are not acting the way we want them to. We can choose to think positive even when we have nothing positive going on around us. We can choose to think about God and His promises even when there isn’t any visible hope for our marriages.
When our thoughts and words line up with the Word of God, it brings us into a position for God to move on our behalf. When God moves on our behalf, He takes the impossible and makes it possible.
My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises. --Psalm 119:148
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Are you placing your hope in your spouse? When we place our hope in someone we are depending on them to make us happy. If our hope is in our spouses, every time they treat us poorly we will fall into despair. But if we place our hope in God, looking to Him to make us happy, He will never disappoint us.
Depending on other people to make us happy will only set us up for despair. I know because I used to base my joy on how others treated me. Whenever someone let me down I was crushed and left in despair. Now that my hope is in God I am able to still enjoy my life even when others wrong me. I don’t have to put a burden on my husband or anyone else to make me happy. I can be happy because my hope is no longer in them, it’s in God.
And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.
—Philippians 4:1, NLT
Are you content with your spouse? Do you ever wonder if there’s someone better out there? A lot of couples compare their spouses to others, thinking the grass is greener on the other side. I admit I often compared my husband to others. God convicted me and showed me I was focusing only on the negative in my husband, but focusing only on the positive in others. When we focus on our spouses' faults it causes us to be discontent.
When we compare our spouses to others it opens the door to temptations in our marriages. It creates a false perception because there is no one out there who is perfect for us. Perfection is only found in and through Jesus. As we allow Him to, God takes the imperfections in our marriages and works them out.
We may not have a perfect spouse now, but we can look ahead to what God can change them to be. We can look at our spouses as how God wants them to be. We can focus on their good qualities because we know God will work out the wrong. This will keep us from losing our joy over every little thing they do wrong.
The LORD will perfect that which concerns me: your mercy, O LORD, endures for ever: forsake not the works of your own hands.
—Psalm 138:8, AKJV
Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
—1 Thessalonians 5:18, NLT
I’ve learned the key to being satisfied, while waiting on God to work in my marriage, is to be filled with praise. Just getting up each day and praising God for a new day and a new beginning fills my heart with gratitude. Thanking God for the good work He’s done in my family fills my heart with gratitude.
If you spend your day thinking about all the things you’re thankful for, you’ll see your attitude change dramatically. Praise keeps you looking expectantly to God. Praise opens the door for God to pour out His blessings and His favor in your life. Praise lifts your spirit and helps you focus on the good in life, and to be thankful for what God’s given you. Praise helps you enjoy life regardless of circumstances.
…Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
David was greatly distressed.… But David encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord his God.
—1 Samuel 30:6
Do you often feel discouraged in your marriage? Do you feel like you’re the only one who is trying and fighting for it? David had no one to encourage him, but he didn’t let that keep him down. Instead, he chose to encourage himself in the Lord. He chose to focus on God who strengthened him not to give up.
Don’t give up. Focus on the good God wants to do in your marriage. Don’t let the enemy steal your joy. Rely on God to help you renew your mind each day with His Word. As you feed your mind with His Word, the Holy Spirit will remind you when you’re accepting wrong thoughts.
Cast down those wrong thoughts. Change your thinking to what God can do. Remain in Christ’s love and watch God fill you with His joy as He moves abundantly in your marriage.
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.