Oh yes – high up in the cabinets, lurking behind the age old green beans and black olives sits a jar of homemade jelly that tastes as sweet as the tree ripened fruit it was made from. Vacuum sealed and aged to perfection it is quietly, patiently and secretly waiting to be found and spread excessively on a warm slice of home baked bread. This can of jelly is just like happiness in a marriage; it has always been there but has been slowly covered up with the unnecessary accumulation of bagged goods and forgotten among the canned corn and whole potatoes of life!
Why is it so easy to cover up the delicious and obvious joys in life with less than appealing, drab and boring essentials of basic existence?
Happiness in a marriage is one of those things that never quite or never should quite disappear completely. Like glimpses of the sun on a rainy Sunday afternoon short and fast bursts of laughter and companionship with your spouse can make the rest of the day seem bearable. The happiness can come from things as simple as a smile from across the room while your partner cooks or the inability to get a word in edge wise over the children excitedly and quickly blurping about their day. Happiness can come from watching your beloved simply walk through the door after a long day at work or finding their first grey hair and making jokes. Sometimes happiness is the solitary and profound silence that allows two people to just be in each others presence without any expectation or desire for words. Happiness can be learning to go to bed at different times to avoid lovemaking or to ensure that your mates’ snoring doesn’t keep you awake. It can be in the things that seem so basic and taken for granted in your every day existence that it; much like the jelly; can sometimes be hard to find!
The daunting truth is that every couple must be always willing to seek it. Certainly as time goes on the definitions of happy seem to change completely – but they are happy none the less. The relationship may have lost the vigor and fury of years ago, yet it is now filled with compassion, acceptance and an unexaggerated sense of togetherness that redefines the word partnership. Happiness can be looking at photographs, retelling old stories and making new ones of both as the days quickly pass. Happiness in a marriage can be the easiest thing to find in a world where everything seems to come with strings and the simplest way to add years to your life and joy to your heart! Happiness can be your home, reading the newspaper together and finally after all these years feeling secure and safe in the love that you give and get. It is realizing that there is no perfect equation to longevity and reasoning about the silly quirks and idiosyncrasies that make your spouse who they are.
Happiness in a marriage is about deliberating not talking about the things that you will know will serve only to upset your beloved and listening to things you really don’t care to hear just to show you care. It is about having much more to lose by arguing and staying mad than you could ever find to gain from bickering about whose turn it is to take out the trash, walk the dog or put the kids to bed! It is going to sleep at 9pm on a Friday night because you are tired and waking up to the same person (just a little bit fatter) every day for going on 10-15 years now. And feeling okay with it. Sometimes happiness is realizing that there are many times when you are under appreciated or your deeds go without gratitude but that you too also forget to see all the things your spouse does for you. It is eating steak every weekend because it is your partner’s favorite meal (even though you hate it) and agreeing to Dr. Pepper at the movies (to save money) even though you prefer Coke! It’s finding the extremely convenient wedge between remaining who you are and remaining willingly available to another person; void of ego and analytical psycho babble - to coexist with someone who makes your heart sing, your lips quiver and your heart melt as smoothly as chocolate fondue!
There isn’t a day that passes by in married life or a married couple who doesn’t have full control of just how much happiness they experience in their wedded matrimony. Everybody has a choice to pay attention to the things that matter and ignore the things that don’t. Each and every moment comes with the opportunity to find happiness and joy or weigh it down with stress and responsibility. No one ever said there had to be a balance of both. By finding happiness in the simplicity of marriage and restoring the little things in life that lead to large memories and love all married couples can find happiness in marriage. Sure, there are twists and turns to everything in life but few are coupled with as much comfort and joy as marital bliss and companionship that exists because of and despite everything else going on in your world!
Just like the jar of jelly; happiness in marriage can be found again when you push away and move to the side all of those things that are staples in life. When you begin to look behind the surface and start to dig behind the exterior of years together and meaningless stuff that piles up high like canned goods - you will find the homemade jelly of your marriage; still fresh in the jar and ripe with the sweet sugar that was used to can it. It is then that the metaphorical bread of your life can be coated with only the savory and sweet happiness that all deserve and desire! Happiness in marriage is there – you just have to always be aware of exactly where to find it!