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Monday, May 3, 2010

The “Habit of Happiness” in Marriage from SYMBIS

It’s so sad that many who venture into marriage never achieve what they were destined to find—happiness and peace from the ‘one-fleshness’ of life devoted to another. Yet, all people who’ve married seem to relate with the struggles involved in achieving the peace and happiness available in marriage.

The theories espoused in the book, Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts (SYMBIS) are foundational to both the preparation for married life and the ongoing maintenance of the relationship.

The theory put forward that’s of most relevance here is the “habit of happiness.” The book tells us that, “Happy couples decide to be happy... they make happiness a habit... in spite of the troubles life deals them.”[1]

The mind is behind all of this. The mind is like a computer processor and it needs to be programmed for success. And we can programme it to default to positive thinking or negative thinking; it’s our choice.

It is amazing how differently our circumstances can be interpreted—positively at one extreme and negatively at the other. “Happiness,” it is said, “does not hinge on better circumstances.”[2] Negative people tend to focus on reality, whereas positive people tend to focus on the possibilities. Positive, happy people are forward-thinkers. They don’t get stuck in the swampy past.

We must ask ourselves the question: “How do I interpret my circumstances—positively or negatively?” It’s our choice.

Marriages work best when there is a “no fault, no blame” attitude underpinning both partners’ approach to each other. “No one can make another person unhappy.”[3] We can only make ourselves unhappy. Again, it’s our personal choice.

The secret of happy couples is they “adjust to things beyond [their] control.”[4] They make a habit of it. They make being happy a habitual activity. Remember, think possibilities not reality.

© 2009, 2010, S. J. Wickham.

ENDNOTES:

[1] Les Parrott & Leslie Parrott, Saving Your Marriage Before it Starts: Seven Questions to Ask Before – and After You Marry (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1995, 2006), p. 60.

[2] Parrott & Parrott, Ibid, p. 63.

[3] Parrott & Parrott, Ibid, p. 65.

[4] Parrott & Parrott, Ibid, p. 66.

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