Sunday, September 6, 2015

A big key to happiness

A big key to happiness

Mom and I flew to Oregon this weekend to visit Nathan and Wendy, and see Jayden and Kylie. What fun! On the flight there, we sat next to a really nice young man who was flying to Oregon to visit his girlfriend’s family. We joked with him that visiting a girlfriend’s family sounded pretty serious, but he laughed it off, and said that though they had been living together for a few years, and though he loved his girlfriend and her family, he wasn’t ready to commit yet.

I then told him that almost every marriage goes through seasons – Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Many marriages fail when they are going through their winter season. But many professional studies have followed couples who were in their winter season, and followed them for years to see how things worked out. For those who stuck it out, rather than giving up, they found that they were in a new Spring of their marriage, and that the new Spring was even better than their first.

What I didn’t say – and wish I had – was that it proves that commitment is a huge part of happiness. It leads to growth and contentment. Committed people work through their disagreements rather than writing people off. And if that’s true, then he should hurry and commit to marriage. It’s true.

Mom and I have experienced seasons in our marriage too. We talked, worked things out, better understood the others needs and better understood our own insensitivities. It’s made all the difference. We’re so much closer now than we ever were during ‘the honeymoon’ and dating phase.

Commitment and Responsibility were two big themes I heard my dad, Grampy, talk about a lot growing up. He knew what he was talking about, and exemplified it every day of his life. This is one thing that I learned from my dad – commitment is a secret to happiness. It applies to most areas of life – work, family, school, even recreation. Marriage is just one area that blossoms under the light of commitment. I’m sure I’ll have future thoughts on commitment in these other areas.

For commitment and responsibility to work, you have to build on simple principles of patience, faith, hope, love, forgiveness, and repentance. Grampy exemplified these principles. These are everyday necessities in the home, and in families. They are, in fact, expressions of commitment and responsibility.

Life is hard. Relationships are hard. But it is worth all the tears, hard conversations, and effort.