Some thoughts have been brewing in my head lately about being content. I like the word "content" better than happy, because happy seems to have this aura around it of exuberant yet fleeting. Content sounds quiet, peaceful, and running deep.
I had a conversation the other day about a relationship I have witnessed over the years, and how those involved seemed so unhappy. I thought of how many years they had passed never feeling content within the walls of their own home. Then I counted my blessings for nearly ten years of a marriage overflowing with love and joy. We have had trials; we have had disagreements; but they have been such small blips on the timeline that they have completely dissolved over time. I can truly say that I have joy and peace in my home.
It makes me sad that so many people don't seem to have that same thing. 50% of marriages end in divorce, which means at least 50% of couples out there spend a good many years hating their situation, dreading going home, growing apart from their best friend, feeling weighted, estranged, heart-heavy, angry, sorrowful. That is a lot of pain in this world, heartache where it should be a haven.
While I'm not so narrow-minded as to say that only faith-filled people experience lasting happiness, I can say from my own experience that my faith is a great part of what keeps my marriage strong. My faith keeps me other-centred instead of self-centred. It teaches me to serve humbly, to be teachable, to quickly repent of wrongs and to forgive graciously. It reminds me that grace is a gift given freely to me and so I should impart it freely also. It inspires me onward and upward on a journey to become a better person, to make goals and be encouraged. It helps me turn weaknesses into strengths through the grace of God.
I am wrapped in a blanket of contentment when I thaw out ground beef to make a meat loaf for James, and I smile as I peel the potatoes knowing that when he walks in the door I will have his favourite food on the table. Or when I pick up in the bedroom, knowing that it is a disaster because he got up with the boys and let me lie in with the baby, and knowing that when he comes in after work he'll feel relaxed in a tidy room. Or when I scrub the kitchen floor, because a sticky kitchen floor is one of the things he hates most. These are all small acts of service, times when my heart wants to do something for him without any expectation of praise or act in return. And these are the smooth waters in the river of our relationship.