A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22 ESV
One of my late friends, Buddy Finch, always had a quippy statement ready for any moment. I found myself using one on the bus as the kids were exiting. “Smile, it won’t hurt your face!”. One child muttered as he left, “I don’t want to…” I thought to myself and smiled, “you don’t want to hurt your face or smile?”
Joy is a built in emotion of the brain that connects us relationally. From birth, healthy parents stimulate the joy growth in the brain through the oohs and ahhs of the voice, loving eye contact, and smiling at the child. As the baby grows, they coo and giggle back in response to the loving joyful stimulation.
Dr. Marcus Warner has written several books on the science and practice of growing joy in your life. I found 5 free webinar videos on his book called The 4 Habits of a Joy Filled Marriage. The fourth Video is entitled Appreciate Daily, which is the 3rd habit in the book. On the link I provided, scroll down to find the videos and begin to listen.
The connection of joy and appreciation connects on the relational level. When you are appreciating someone it is like a magnet that draws you to that person. A joyful heart finds many ways to be thankful and appreciative for different aspects of life.
A joyful heart is slightly different than having a positive outlook on life. A joyful heart connects thankfulness and appreciation. Even in the middle of stress and difficult situations, you can find the most basic things to be thankful for – the warmth of sunshine on your face, the smell of a local bakery, the sound of a train in the distance, a long slow breath or a lingering gaze with your spouse or child. Those moments of appreciation will fill your heart-bucket with joy. As it relates to people, you will begin to notice love and a longing to connect with them.
I think you will really enjoy implementing some of the joyful habits Dr. Warner shares in the videos into your marriage. Like Solomon, you will experience the wonderful relational healing medicine from experiencing a joyful heart.
Blessings Love y’all