Exploring Happiness in Marriage: A Deep Dive into Spiritual vs. Fleshly Satisfaction

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Happiness is a universal pursuit that many of us long for. In our quest for happiness, we often wonder why some people seem to have it all, while we struggle to find happiness in our own marriages. The truth is, happiness is not a constant state; especially when dependent on worldly, external things. So where does our desire for happiness come from and how do we find true happiness, even in the face of challenges?

Our own happiness often comes and goes. We may find happiness in certain moments, but it does not last forever. As an AI generator puts it: “Happiness is a state of well-being characterized by joy, contentment, and fulfillment. It varies from person to person, and what makes one individual happy may not bring the same level of joy to another. Our pursuit of happiness is often driven by a desire to experience positive emotions and life satisfaction.”

Additionally, research indicates that marriage is a crucial predictor of happiness in America. Married individuals, especially those with children, tend to lead happier and more prosperous lives than single and childless people. Happiness in marriage is not constant though; many couples go through challenging seasons where happiness may seem elusive.

Nevertheless, true happiness goes beyond a mere chemical response in our bodies; it is a spiritual response, regardless of external stimuli. These external stimuli, such as sex, food, and affirmation, trigger the release of chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, endorphins, and oxytocin, leading to feelings of happiness and well-being. 

However, relying solely on these physical responses for happiness can lead to unhealthy and sinful behaviors. Our brains and bodies are never satisfied.

For example, often we’ll say “There’s this thing in the distance, and once we get that, then we’ll be happy.” 

Once i have that new car, then I’ll be happy, 

Once i get that promotion, then I’ll be happy

Once my spouse starts doing _________ , then I’ll be happy.

Romans 8:13 puts it this way.

 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

As believers, we must realize that embracing God’s design for these things, within the context of marriage and moderation, is what can lead to a healthier and more fulfilling life. God created us and knows exactly how we work. The Bible offers insights into true happiness, describing it as a state of blessedness for those who delight in the Lord’s law and avoid ungodly influences. True and lasting happiness in marriage can be found by abiding in Christ and aligning our perspectives with His divine wisdom. Rather than focusing on external circumstances, we can cultivate a heart of thanksgiving and trust in God’s provision, even in difficult times.

However, it is unrealistic to expect constant happiness in marriage. Unhappiness and challenges are inevitable and yet, can even be valuable for personal growth. Embracing unhappiness and seeking to understand its lessons can actually lead to greater resilience and appreciation for those happy moments when they come.

Happiness in marriage is a journey. Understanding that happiness is not a constant state, yet learning to find joy in God’s word can help us navigate challenges and appreciate those happy moments all the more. By embracing both happiness and unhappiness in our marital journey, we can find a deeper sense of contentment and fulfillment, knowing that true happiness is ultimately rooted in our relationship with God. Only then will our happiness no longer be contingent on the external stimuli in our life, which caters to our flesh. True and lasting happiness in marriage; a happiness or blessedness or joy that can withstand any disagreement, and any hardship, any unforeseen tragedy, is only found by being planted in the word of God and in the everlasting life-giving waters of Jesus. 

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Jennifer Smith (00:06):

Are you looking for happiness? Do you feel like happiness is non-existent in your marriage? Does it frustrate you when you perceive other couples to be happy and wonder why you can’t have that too? Happiness is a common pursuit that people long for many people have gone great lengths to experience and achieve happiness in life. This idea that no matter what is going on, you feel good. You feel happy. Today, we’ll discuss why we are driven with a desire to experience true happiness and how to look for true happiness when it is hard to find.

Aaron Smith (00:36):

Hey, we’re Aaron and Jennifer Smith, your hosts of the Marriage After God podcast. Hi, and today’s episode’s brought to you by something special, the Marriage Gift 365. 365 Prayers for our Marriage. It’s our newest book. Why did we write this book? Well, there have been hundreds of thousands of couples who have already taken our marriage prayer challenge and gone through our 31 prayers for my husband and wife books, and we wanted to introduce to them and you an entire year of marriage prayers to encourage each and every marriage to build a powerful and daily habit of prayer with and for their spouse. We believe prayer is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your marriage. So that is why we called it the Marriage Gift. It’s 365 prayers for your Marriage, one for every day of the year. This book has been in the making for over two years now, and we’re so excited for each one of our listeners to preorder this book, the Marriage Gist Gift Releases on October 17th, but you can preorder it right now and be one of the first to receive it when it’s released. Please visit the marriage gift.com to pre-order your copy today.

Jennifer Smith (01:38):

Okay? Okay. Okay.

Aaron Smith (01:40):

It’s been announced officially.

Jennifer Smith (01:41):

It’s official. We’re so excited to finally tell everyone in the whole wide world that we wrote a book, another

Aaron Smith (01:47):

Book, if you follow us on Instagram. We did post about it, was it last week? And now you’re hearing it from us today. And we just sent an email, so this is, we kind of finally just have announced it.

Jennifer Smith (02:00):

Yep, that’s

Aaron Smith (02:01):

Good. We’ve been hinting at it and saying things here and there, but yeah, we’re like down to the wire. This is coming out in October. We’re so excited. Yeah. What’s cool is you could pre-order right now it’s on Amazon and so many people already have, which is amazing. They’ve been messaging us saying, I love the cover. Yeah, it’s so cool. It’s such a

Jennifer Smith (02:17):

Good one. Okay, so that’s a big thing for us. We’ve been working hard on it.

Aaron Smith (02:23):

We still got a lot of work to do with the marketing stuff, but

Jennifer Smith (02:25):

What else is going on in Erin and Jim? I heard

Aaron Smith (02:28):

You. I took the kids to swim lessons.

Jennifer Smith (02:31):

Yes. I jumped on a bandwagon with a friend who’s also doing swim lessons for some of her younger kids, and so I just thought, there’s a few of our kids that dunno how to swim yet, and I threw ’em in and it’s been really fun.

Aaron Smith (02:43):

Tru Truett’s doing it right,

Jennifer Smith (02:45):

Truitt and Wyatt.

Aaron Smith (02:46):

And why? Kind of learned how to swim

Jennifer Smith (02:47):

Last year. I just wanted to make him a confident swimmer and I don’t know, it’s, it’s been really fun to watch them. Okay.

Aaron Smith (02:55):

Yeah, I know they were nervous at first, but it sounds like they’re having a lot of fun,

Jennifer Smith (02:58):

Which is really cool. Super fun. I actually really enjoy settings where the kids are learning from someone else, and I’m just kind of watching. I don’t know. It’s

Aaron Smith (03:06):

Right. Well, what I like about it is we can come back to the kids later because sometimes they have a hard time listening to us. That’s what kids do. We can say, Hey, you listen to that other teacher really well, we need that. You should listen to us too. Oh yeah. We can kind of use it as an example. They do see the difference. So I like that.

Jennifer Smith (03:22):

I’ve just enjoyed it. Like P, the P, their piano teacher. Juujitsu teacher,

Aaron Smith (03:26):

And they’re all different kinds of teachers. Yeah.

Jennifer Smith (03:29):

I gleaned from ’em too. I’m like, oh, I need to add this too. When I’m teaching homeschool or character or whatever, I need to be patient. I need to be, need get

Aaron Smith (03:38):

Fun. It is good that they learn how to, because one of them, I always tell the kids, one of your main goals right now is to learn how to learn. So being around other teachers is important. Yeah. Those other teaching styles, other personalities. So that’s really cool.

Jennifer Smith (03:53):

Something else that happened this week was Truett and Wyatt were playing with another friend at Juujitsu after class, and I overheard Truett, he’s four, and he just randomly asked the little boy, do you know God? And he the

Aaron Smith (04:08):

Little, he does it a lot actually. The

Jennifer Smith (04:09):

Little boy said, yeah, he’s my friend. It was really cute, but I just thought, it’s so interesting when things like that pop up and it’s unprompted. And then that led into a good conversation during Family Bible time this morning and some of our other kids chimed in on, they were talking about how some of the kids have a tendency to do it and the others feel nervous or that it doesn’t come as naturally or they worry about, well, what’s the response going to be? And it was just a really cool conversation coming from my kids

Aaron Smith (04:45):

Speaking at tr. I took him to the park the other day and he runs up and he’s like, dad. He’s like, can I take that little boy over there? Can, can he be my friend? I’m like, sure you can go tell. He’s like, but what if he doesn’t know God? I was like, go ask him. I don’t know if he does or not. Everyone does. And it was just funny. He’s always thinking about that. And I was like, but yeah, go play with him. He’s like, and he stood there for a while. I was like, it’s okay. You could go. And he was, you got nervous after asking me. He’s really funny’s cool. I like him a

Jennifer Smith (05:11):

Lot. That’s cool. Yeah. I like seeing them hit that growth spurt of they’re not really a baby or a younger kid anymore, but he’s going to be five soon.

Aaron Smith (05:21):

They’re learning independence. Yeah, it’s their own person. Yeah. Yeah.

Jennifer Smith (05:24):

That’s

Aaron Smith (05:24):

Cool. It is. Cool.

Jennifer Smith (05:26):

Okay. Anything else before we move on?

Aaron Smith (05:28):

I don’t think so.

Jennifer Smith (05:29):

Okay. We’re jumping right into ai. Are you ready?

Aaron Smith (05:33):

Yeah. You put this note. I wanted know what

Jennifer Smith (05:34):

You put this for. I know. Okay. So we’ve actually had some good talks about AI recently. I don’t know if you guys are talking about AI in your marriage. Artificial intelligence

Aaron Smith (05:44):

A I feel like it’s everywhere. Well, it’s happening now. It’s, it’s a real thing now. I use it a lot.

Jennifer Smith (05:49):

Okay. Well, the reason that I’m bringing it up right now is because when we do these episodes or I look for a definition I like to share with you guys. I went to go Google about happiness, the topic for today, and it now gives you a summarizer, like an AI summarizer of in Google. This was in a different browser that you have on the Okay. Computer. But I do think that, I don’t know there, it’s random, but it’ll say by ai and it’ll have the links to where AI pulled the information from. But it’s essentially just summarizing into, it’s not quite a definition, but it’s summarizing what people said.

Aaron Smith (06:28):

It’s pulling these other main themes that yes, pop up often about

Jennifer Smith (06:31):

This topic. So when I typed in the word happiness, this is what the AI generator summarized for us. Happiness is a state of wellbeing that encompasses living a good life with a sense of meaning and deep contentment. It is often described as an emotional state characterized by feelings of joy, satisfaction, contentment, and fulfillment. The definition of happiness can vary from person to person, but is often described as involving positive emotions and life satisfaction.

Aaron Smith (06:59):

So AI is going around and it’s grabbing what other people

Jennifer Smith (07:03):

Have said about it

Aaron Smith (07:04):

And yeah, and can glamorizing or wherever the word is, all these different ideas. What’s interesting about this is a more concise definition of happiness. We’re going to break down what we generally look for in happiness, but I like that this pulled out things like satisfaction, contentment, fulfillment, purpose, meaning those are much deeper things than just emotions, but often emotions come from them. So

Jennifer Smith (07:31):

Pretty good. Pretty good. Ai. Ai,

Aaron Smith (07:33):

AI is pretty crazy. I know it’s really controversial right now, but I think there’s going to be a lot of good that it can be used for, but it also’s going to be a lot of weird stuff. So yeah, got to keep

Jennifer Smith (07:43):

An eye on that. So people are also really creative. When I was searching about happiness, I stumbled upon this video that popped up and it was a short film that it was animated and it was about this rat, and it was placed in a New York style setting. And if you can imagine all the billboards on the sides of buildings or even going, there was a scene going up an escalator, and you just see all the moving, everything’s flashy and all, all the

Aaron Smith (08:17):

Advertisements,

Jennifer Smith (08:18):

All the scenes, all the advertisements, all the branding and the logos were very recognizable. I mean, all the brands you can think of, but instead of the word of that brand, all of them were replaced with happiness in

Aaron Smith (08:31):

That. So is that Nike? It’s said happiness

Jennifer Smith (08:33):

Instead. Exactly. Starbucks. It said happiness, but it was all in their branding, and so it was really done very cleverly, and it immediately hit me like, man, all the things that we chase in life, all these extra little,

Aaron Smith (08:48):

The quote make us feel happy,

Jennifer Smith (08:50):

But like, but we don’t see it as happiness. We just see it as, oh, I got to have that thing, or I want that thing. I got to have that coffee. I got to have those shoes I got to. And it’s like, but this guy, whoever created this thing just put happiness, labeled everything happiness. And it was funny. You see that chase for what it is. I thought that was really, really interesting

Aaron Smith (09:09):

And convicting because it’s true. And that that’s one of the things we’re going to talk about is how we define our happiness and what we’re looking for to make us happy. But rather than finding it in the right places,

Jennifer Smith (09:22):

And by the end of it, it basically showed that nothing lasts. This rat was chasing after these different things, which we’ll talk about a little bit later, but that feeling of happiness doesn’t last. Once you get that thing, then yeah, it goes away and you start looking for the next thing that makes you feel happy.

Aaron Smith (09:39):

Well, speaking of what makes you feel happy, what is happiness to you? What

Jennifer Smith (09:45):

Makes you happy

Aaron Smith (09:45):

For you, Jennifer?

Jennifer Smith (09:46):

No. What makes you happy?

Aaron Smith (09:48):

What makes me happy? I was actually thinking about it. So I don’t think I put things into a bucket of like, Ooh, that’s going to make me feel happy.

Jennifer Smith (10:00):

Okay, wait, me, I don’t change the question. So what are those times that are picture perfect or how you take a mental picture in your brain? Have you ever experienced a moment and you’re like, yes, I want this moment to last forever. What’s that?

Aaron Smith (10:13):

Yeah, for you. The bummer is they never do. I know I about, even when I think about things that are coming up that I’m really excited about trips we’re going to go on, I look back to past trips that I was excited about going on and how they’re years behind me now, and I just know, oh, that thing’s going to come up and it’s going to go by so fast, high. It’s tricky. So yes, there are things that, so the other day we were at the lake with all of our church and our kids and they were playing and I was sitting in a lawn, lawn chair being lazy, what is it? Not a lawn chair, it’s a beach chair. And I was just looking at the water and it was warm and it was breezy and no one was talking to me. I was just kind of there and I was really happy. That’s awesome. I was enjoying it. There

Jennifer Smith (10:56):

Was another time where we have this little pop-up tent and it’s half a tent and just to block the sun, I looked over and you were laying there all by yourself? Just napping.

Aaron Smith (11:07):

I was taking a nap. I felt good. And

Jennifer Smith (11:09):

Every 30 seconds I turned around to see if you had moved or anything. And I really wanted to wake you up because I wanted to take a turn. I wanted to do what you

Aaron Smith (11:17):

Were doing. Well, you eventually did. You’re like, Eric, get up. I want to lay down. It looked so nice hot. Well, what

Jennifer Smith (11:20):

Happened was is I could justify it because Edie fell asleep on my lap and I was like, oh, if I wake him up now, I’ll just tell him I want to lay down with Ededie. And then,

Aaron Smith (11:29):

Okay,

Jennifer Smith (11:29):

So sorry. So you took my happiness.

Aaron Smith (11:32):

I wait. Yep. Another thing I thought about, I was walking by as we were coming to record this, I was walking by our back doors and I saw my grass and it looks, I know this is weird. I’m like, I’m old guy now. I am like, man, I really like my grass. Oh, I’ve worked really hard for that. And I mean, it’s not perfect, but it’s mine. And I just really liked it. Made me

Jennifer Smith (11:52):

Happy. What’s funny, literally today I had that exact same thought and I think it’s because you mowed it yesterday. And so it was very, it’s really nice. It was very recognizably.

Aaron Smith (12:00):

Well, and it’s beautiful. It’s greening up quite nicely. Kind of got the water down right. Yeah. This year I’ve had a hard time with time. Good job

Jennifer Smith (12:07):

On the

Aaron Smith (12:07):

Grass. I know. I’m happy. My

Jennifer Smith (12:09):

Grass. Okay, going back to this question, this question, what makes you happy? I think for me, when I feel like we’re in a space, especially with you and and our family where there’s not a very specific hardship or thing that we’re dealing with, everyone’s healthy. We outside on a warm, sunny day cruising on our bikes. That is,

Aaron Smith (12:34):

And we’re not worried about something behind

Jennifer Smith (12:35):

Those. There’s no rush to get somewhere. There’s no work to be done. It’s just us doing something together that makes me happy.

Aaron Smith (12:44):

That is quite nice that

Jennifer Smith (12:46):

It’s simple, but it’s nice.

Aaron Smith (12:50):

Some interesting stuff that you found in your research with this. Why don’t you share some of that and how it pertains to marriage, which is I thought was really interesting also.

Jennifer Smith (12:59):

So I was reading this blog post by Unheard, which I’ve actually never heard of.

Aaron Smith (13:05):

It’s unheard of. Yeah,

Jennifer Smith (13:05):

It’s unheard of. But it’s there. And as I was reading it, it said that there was this study done where they found that the best predictor of happiness in America was marriage,

Aaron Smith (13:16):

Which is interesting.

Jennifer Smith (13:17):

I know. So basically this is what it says. I’m just going to read it to you guys because I didn’t have enough time to wrap my head around it to just regurgitate Americans who are married with children are now leading happier and more prosperous lives on average than men and women who are single and childless. It goes on to say that this truth is born out yet again in new research from the University of Chicago, which found that marriage is the most important differentiator of who is happy in America and that fail following marriage rates are a chief reason why happiness has declined. Nationally, the research surveying thousands of respondents revealed a startling 30% point happiness divide between married and unmarried Americans. 30,

Aaron Smith (14:01):

30 percentage points of someone feels happy or not as happy is between married and unmarried. Yeah, that’s amazing. I know.

Jennifer Smith (14:09):

I thought it

Aaron Smith (14:10):

Was pretty cool. So I was doing some research on an article and potentially a pod podcast that we can do in the future about divorce. And one of the things that I was looking up in the statistics I was trying to pinpoint when divorce started getting ramping up, and there was a years ago there was a court case that allowed no fault divorce. And from that point forward, divorce started getting much, much more widespread. But then it’s been declining. And I was like, well, that doesn’t fit my narrative that I was trying to, I was like, well, why is it declining? And then I was doing more research. It’s because marriage rates are declining,

Jennifer Smith (14:58):

So there’s less divorce.

Aaron Smith (14:59):

There’s less divorce because less marriage. That’s crazy. So it’s not that people are staying married longer, it’s that people aren’t getting married at all. So when you just were reading the failing or failing marriage rates, falling marriage rates is because there’s less and less people getting married.

Jennifer Smith (15:16):

Wow.

Aaron Smith (15:18):

Which is really sad.

Jennifer Smith (15:19):

Yeah. What does that mean for society or culture? Yeah. Okay. Well, that’s not our topic today.

Aaron Smith (15:26):

Well, based off this, based off these statistics, less happy, less happy, for sure. At least.

Jennifer Smith (15:32):

Why do you think that, I mean, obviously we can’t go into what these people did on this survey, but why do you think people are happier being married?

Aaron Smith (15:46):

Well, I believe in God’s design. It doesn’t mean that every single human being in the planet is called to be married. I couldn’t say that for a fact, but marriage by design fulfills many things that are in a naturally, no one wants to be alone. God says to himself, it’s not good for man to be alone. So he gave him a helpmate woman for him to enjoy and to minister with and to take care of the earth with and do all these things so that those truths haven’t changed.

Jennifer Smith (16:19):

Yeah. That word, we

Aaron Smith (16:19):

Still need people.

Jennifer Smith (16:21):

That word loneliness came up into my mind when I was reading this article and I thought back to all the times in marriage where I was unhappy or frustrated with you or frustrated with our condition of marriage at that moment. And I remember, especially in the early years, I used to think back, I wish we were just dating for some reason. There was this ideal or

Aaron Smith (16:42):

Oh man, I don’t miss that phase of life

Jennifer Smith (16:43):

At all. Well, but for me, there was this idea, this picture in my head that when we were dating, we fought less or that things weren’t as serious or we less

Aaron Smith (16:51):

Obligation, less

Jennifer Smith (16:52):

Never less responsibility. But I never went as far back as I wish we weren’t together or I wish I didn’t know you. Oh, that’s interesting. Yeah. I didn’t want to be alone. I just wanted to be in a different time that made it to where it didn’t feel as difficult.

Aaron Smith (17:05):

That’s true.

Jennifer Smith (17:06):

I know.

Aaron Smith (17:06):

But it is true. I think about it, I’m like, I love that I have you. Even with all the hard things, I wouldn’t trade that for singleness personally. I know other people have. I know that’s something that when we get into these, that kind of what we’re talking about today, I’m not happy. I need to find happiness, pursue it, and we pursue something else that ends up not making us any happier, but we think it will.

Jennifer Smith (17:32):

Okay, one last thing before we move on. From this article that I was talking about, I had scrolled down and read some of the comments of what people were saying about it, and one of them wondered that among those who were surveyed who are happy and also married, they wondered if they’re a common combination, a commonality correlation between those people. I think they said specifically, are they religious and is there something else that makes them happy? Not necessarily that they’re married, but that certain life choices or ways of being contributed to that. And I thought that was interesting. Well, which goes back to the thought of people getting married less too.

Aaron Smith (18:11):

Well, I would imagine it does on some level go down to belief systems because the group of people that are not getting married have a belief that marriage is not good. And then there’s going to be a group of people, probably more commonly religious, many different religions have a high view of marriage. And so I would say it goes down to belief. We had a whole episode on this idea of belief and how powerful it is and why, what it does when we believe something causes us to act. So I would agree, and I think, again, I don’t know, but I would conjecture that yes, they probably have a commonality of interesting beliefs,

Jennifer Smith (18:53):

Interesting things to think about. So when it comes to happiness and marriage, we really wanted to talk about this even though, I mean we say this all the time, we’re not experts. We don’t claim to have all the answers, all the super answers for you guys. But we do like to talk about things and have the discussion because I mean, we’ve heard over the years, and really it’s been on repeat that if someone’s not happy in their marriage, they kind of look at their whole life and define it by that. Some people take matters into their hands as far as we already mentioned, divorce and pursuing happiness outside of marriage.

Aaron Smith (19:34):

Well, and some things that we’ve actually seen when a spouse, a person defines their relationship by their happiness. S often or sometimes they’ll also look at their understanding of God in that same way. And I’ve heard people say, God wants me to be happy and I’m not happy, therefore I need to change or leave or find someone else, which is, it’s not the biblical viewpoint of what God, God does want us to have be happy. But that’s not his main focus. He’s not trying to say, oh, I want everything in your life to make you happy. So it’s just good that we’re talking about this because if what we believe about happiness is going to dictate how we respond to times when we’re not happy.

Jennifer Smith (20:21):

And in a world that tells you to pursue happiness, we kind of wanted to get in your ear today and say, hold up. Wait a minute, let’s evaluate this. What does it mean to be happy? Why does it matter to our marriage? And if we’re not happy, if we don’t find happiness in our marriage, what can we do? Because our vows matter. And so we don’t want to overlook that.

Aaron Smith (20:46):

And there’s a reason. Some, there’s seasons in our marriages, some longer than others that we’re not happy. All those good feelings of peace and contentment and satisfaction, they are far and few between. They’re coded in hurt, frustration, discontent, loneliness, exhaustion, pain,

Jennifer Smith (21:13):

And every marriage goes through these seasons.

Aaron Smith (21:16):

This is life where you’re not going to not have those seasons. It’s impossible. You have two human beings who have their own personalities, their own backgrounds, their own histories,

Jennifer Smith (21:26):

And that we can attest to because we are not always happy in our marriage that we have

Aaron Smith (21:30):

Gotten. I’m always happy.

Jennifer Smith (21:33):

We have definitely gone through seasons where in the beginning of our marriage, I would say that was probably the most unhappy we’ve ever been. That was a really, really strenuous part of our relationship. I

Aaron Smith (21:46):

Would say it was in the top. It definitely not. I feel like there’s been some

Jennifer Smith (21:49):

Seasons since then. Well, I mean, we’ve been married for almost 17 years, so since then there’s been seasons in and out that we have both individually struggled with feeling happy for sure.

Aaron Smith (22:01):

I would say that in the beginning it was the most consistent

Jennifer Smith (22:05):

Feeling of, it was a big chunk of just contentment

Aaron Smith (22:08):

And unhappy and general unhappiness,

Jennifer Smith (22:11):

Which you can see if left unchecked, left untreated, left to develop into a motivation for leaving. We were on that trajectory. We were close to that. We were close to that.

Aaron Smith (22:24):

And what’s funny is if you would’ve, you known us back then, and there’s many that do from the outside, we looked happy. Yeah, we looked like we were kind of doing great, but on the inside we were not

Jennifer Smith (22:36):

Feeling that the opposite for sure.

Aaron Smith (22:38):

Yeah. So even though we got through that first season, we’ve had many since. But what we’re talking about is the fact that we are going to have hard seasons. We are going to have seasons of not feeling great, not feeling happy. But you were mentioning earlier, if someone’s defining their entire marriage, their entire relationship and life and life by these hard times or by feeling happy, no, I’m happy right now. So this is perfect. But then the moment you’re not the moment something affects that. If that’s how you’re defining where you’re at, that’s a really unstable, it’s there’s no stability in that because outside forces can affect that without your control. So I think one thing we want to talk about is I think there’s some more stable way of viewing our marriages than just seeing happiness as the main focus. I’m trying to have a happy labor after.

(23:43)
We’ve been convinced of that by all sorts of movies over the years and books is like, oh, that’s what we’re looking for. It’s happily ever after. Speaking of that, this a little funny thought. Every single time I watch a see a movie and there’s like a love story, whether it’s a cartoon animated movie and there’s like this relationship and it’s like, oh, it’s so beautiful. It was full of turmoil and full of venture and full of all this. And then I finally get together. I always think, well, it’s great that they just showed this moment where they’re in love. I said, but lifetime’s a long time. And I just think about marriage and how the reality of it is. And often when they do a sequel, that relationship doesn’t even exist anymore. And I’m like, well, they didn’t even show you all the hard stuff. They glamorize that one moment in time rather than the reality of life,

Jennifer Smith (24:30):

Which is what we, I mean, we look for those moments for sure. And we idolize them. We in ’em on a pistol, and we want that. And we want that to just be a continuous constant feeling. But that’s not reality. Do you remember

Aaron Smith (24:48):

The last, I was at the last episode where we were talking about goals and how Yeah, we make the goalpost. Yeah. That oh, that’s the what we’re looking for. And once I get there, I’ll feel good, but forgetting and not realizing that the journey is what we want. That we actually want to live a life moving towards joy and peace and satisfaction. Not once we get there that that’s when I’ll have it. Right.

Jennifer Smith (25:12):

That’s good. Also, when you’re talking about being unstable, if you’re only living life based off these emotions, I thought about how contentment, which we mentioned earlier as the AI generator summarizer gave us as part of the definition for happiness, was deep contentment that requires self-control. To be in a state of stability where where you can look at life regardless of what’s happening around you and say, wow, I have really an appreciation for life, marriage, family, whatever’s going on right now. And be content in that moment.

Aaron Smith (25:59):

Well, speaking about trying to define what happiness is, why don’t we talk about what happiness is? If we were to define it, what would some words you would say? You said contentment, right? Yeah. But before thinking of contentment, before we got AI’s. Okay, yeah. Version of happiness. What kinds of things would we think

Jennifer Smith (26:16):

Of fun?

Aaron Smith (26:18):

Yeah. That was something I thought I was thinking about the beach. I was like, that was fun. Yeah, pleasure, right? Pleasure is something that brings happiness. I’m thinking of many different types of pleasures in marriage and outside of marriage.

Jennifer Smith (26:30):

I would say no stress, no, no challenge, no nothing hard.

Aaron Smith (26:34):

Yeah. So comfort, stress free. Yeah. So again, I walk by my grass and I’m like, oh, it’s just there. It’s mine. There’s nothing. It’s so simple. So I think we can think of happiness in these terms, and all these things do bring happiness. When you’re having fun with your family, you’re bringing happiness into the home. When you’re pleasure in your marriage, that’s a good thing. And especially, I mean, the stress-free one is a really big one. When I think about the things that make me the happiest, there are the times when there’s, I’m not thinking about work, I’m not thinking about finances. I’m not thinking about struggles or relational issues, just in the moment, enjoying it. Stress free. Yeah, it’s pleasant.

(27:22)
And those are all good things. But technically, let’s talk technically for a minute. So biologically, if you were to truly define what’s happening, when someone feels happy, when someone’s feeling these emotions, they’re chemical responses in our body. And the reason I want to bring this up is because I think it’d be helpful for us as Christians, as husbands and wives, to recognize the difference between the flesh and the spirit. Recognize the difference between, because if we just said the word happiness, okay. God wants us to be happy. Of course, he talks about being blessed in the Bible. We’re going to get to some of those scriptures here in a minute. But technically in our bodies, God has created us a certain way. God has created us with receptors and emotion, hormones, all of that. And those get interpreted in our physical and how we respond to things, how we like crying or smiling or laughing or exhilaration.

(28:24)
All those things come, but they’re, what they are is their chemical responses. A hormone gets released in the body, in our brain, goes to different receptors, our receptors receive them. They trigger other responses in the body that make us feel happy. Good. So things like sex, food, words of affirmation, those things are external. Yeah. That cause your body to release these hormones that then are attributed to our happiness or feeling good. Those chemicals are serotonin, dopamine, endorphins, oxytocin. Many of those get released during sex. Many of those get released during eating food or working out or doing something fun with all sorts of things that release these things on our bodies. They’re released in different ways at different times. And when we experience something that our body wants and enjoys, that’s what happens. So when we’re discussing happiness, we’re discussing these things like, oh, looking at the grass, that makes me feel happy, why I’m looking at it. And something in my brain’s happening of looking at it freshly cut, looking at it green, that the pleasures of my eye looking at it are releasing something in my brain that makes me feel good about that. Do you think, sorry to cut you off. That’s all

Jennifer Smith (29:40):

Right. Do you think that part of it too is just knowing the knowledge of the work you’ve put into it? The cost of

Aaron Smith (29:47):

What you Yeah, yeah,

Jennifer Smith (29:47):

Yeah, yeah. There’s like a sense of pride that you’ve experienced the grass when it wasn’t full and luscious and green. And I

Aaron Smith (29:55):

Also experienced it when it was dirt.

Jennifer Smith (29:57):

You put the work into it to make it what it was. And so yeah, sense of pride,

Aaron Smith (30:01):

Which that also releases those endorphins, releases those different hormones that makes me be like, wow, I feel good right now. And God, the Bible talks about the flesh or the desires of the flesh, and that’s what I’m talking about. So when we crave something, because that thing that we crave when we had it,

Jennifer Smith (30:22):

We know it’s going to make us feel

Aaron Smith (30:23):

Good. It released those chemicals and our brain’s like, I like those chemicals. Do that again because they feel good. Yeah. Do that again. Yeah. That’s how God made us. He made our bodies with these hormones. They’re all good from him. Is it? When he made us, he said that it was very good. But it’s when we allow those chemicals to control us or define us, that’s when we get into a problem. So those chemical processes in our body, they’re good, but when they’re left to be in charge, they’ll lead us into unhealthy and sinful behaviors, which is why. So when the Bible says to put to death the deeds of the flesh, it’s not just saying something spiritual, it’s saying something physical. It’s why fasting is a real thing. Fasting is a spiritual discipline. But what it is is it’s training your body. It’s training your mind, your stomach. It’s saying, I know that my body wants this thing, needs this thing actually, and if I don’t have it, I will die. But it’s saying, I’m going to tell my body no for the sake of the spirit. And so here an example of letting the flesh, so letting the flesh be in charge. So sex is good. God made it. It’s a good thing. But sex outside the boundaries of marriage is not good. So God gave us all the chemicals in our brain to enjoy sex.

Jennifer Smith (31:52):

But if you’re not self controlled and you start looking for that and doing that outside of your marriage, yeah, you’re going to have the consequences.

Aaron Smith (32:00):

And if you find, get those hormones from other ways other than how God designed it, that unhealthy way becomes a destructive behavior. And so we see if we start defining happiness in the sense of like, well, am I being led by my body, my flesh, my hormones, or am I being led by the spirit? Those are the questions we get to ask. So what are your thoughts on that real quick?

Jennifer Smith (32:30):

No, that’s really good. I could just sit here and listen to you. Oh,

Aaron Smith (32:34):

It’s my voice.

Jennifer Smith (32:37):

It’s good. Keep going. So

Aaron Smith (32:42):

Often this is the happiness was week. So when we were defining happiness, fun, we want something that’s going to make us feel good. We want want to experience things that are going to release these chemicals in our brains.

Jennifer Smith (32:52):

That’s what I’ve dealt with. Food. I feel like for a really long time, a coping mechanism of I don’t feel good right now. What can I do? It’s the quickest way to get that response in my brain and my body to change my mood. And it was only probably two or three months ago, I remember we were on a drive somewhere, and I told you this. I said, I feel like for the first time in my life I’ve been able to have self-control in this area of food. And it feels empowering. It’s so cool to be able to,

Aaron Smith (33:24):

It’s so, it’s so empowering

Jennifer Smith (33:26):

To

Aaron Smith (33:26):

Walk in it. And so think about the physical version of happiness versus the spiritual version of happiness.

Jennifer Smith (33:35):

Two very different things.

Aaron Smith (33:36):

They’re very two very different things. Because I always think of Paul in prison singing, and he’s there bound or Peter in, they had a different kind of happiness. It wasn’t happiness based off their circumstances. It wasn’t happiness based off of a feeling good. They were half naked or fully naked, beaten, hungry, cold in the dark, and yet crazy. They have a different kind of happiness. And that’s the kind of happiness that God wants for his children. Not that we’re just sitting here in our flesh at the whim of those hormones, whether they’re good ones or bad ones. Which gets me to the other half of this is when we don’t feel happy. Those are also chemical responses in our brains.

Jennifer Smith (34:27):

Just the negative side of

Aaron Smith (34:29):

That God. And God also gave us those, the physical, those responses when we get hurt or when we’re afraid, those are those natural responses of the body release, cortisol or adrenaline or actual pain signals from our nervous system, nervous system in our body. Those are also good things. But when you live in those too long, they’re bad for you. So on both sides, if you just operate in the flesh, let’s say you have just a life full of happiness and all the good, happy chemicals in your brain, literally jumping from one addiction to the next, trying to keep those chemicals because your body gets adjusted to the amount that is released and then it needs more. But you go the other way, cortisol, adrenaline, those things, when there’s too much in your body, you start having health problems, you start having down mental problems, you start having emotional problems. So God doesn’t want us to be at the whim of our flesh because our flesh, when left to itself, it gets into all sorts of trouble.

Jennifer Smith (35:37):

Back to that word stability that you brought up. You can kind of see the scales when you’re, oh, yeah. Talking about the negative and the positive responses to stimulus. I don’t have much more to say about that, but just that word stability means a lot to me right now as I’m listening.

Aaron Smith (35:52):

So are we going to be people that are just at the whim of the bad chemicals and the good chemicals in our brains? Those aren’t going away there. God gave, they’re good things when under the control of the spirit of God when under the control of the will of God. So what that means is you can be filling the adrenaline from fear, but still be at peace knowing what God says. So you could feel that it could be physically happening in your body. I feel like I’m going to die and still have the peace of God that surpasses all understanding, wash over us and live in that peace. That’s where you get things like bravery or courage. Those are things that are not chemical responses in the brains. Those are actions taken despite what everything in your body is telling you.

Jennifer Smith (36:48):

That’s really cool. Yeah. That’s awesome. So for people who want to experience the good chemicals and experience happiness, but they want something that they shouldn’t or they’re pursuing it in a direction that would be fatal to their marriage, relationship or family, what is the choice there? What is the choice they make to walk in a way that they experience what you’re talking about?

Aaron Smith (37:22):

Well, I would say what the word of God is to us is the stimuli that our spirits need. So our flesh, if we just walk in it, it’s going to do what it wants. If we walk in the spirit, we will not gratify the desires of the flesh. That’s the words, that’s what the word says. So looking to the word of God and letting that be the defining factor of how we what’s true. Because what we feel we’re going to is going to fight with what’s true. And so often when we get in this place, what I feel right now, I want this thing, it’s going to make me feel better. We’re calling that truth and where God’s saying, well, yeah, is a fruit of the spirit, and I want you to walk in that. So I always go back to God created us. He knows exactly how we work. He designed our brains. He all of the things that how our bodies work. It was his idea. He totally understands it

Jennifer Smith (38:26):

So we can trust

Aaron Smith (38:27):

Him. And so an idea of what we’re talking about, Ecclesiastes 1, 7, 3, 8 says, all streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full to the place where the streams flow. There they flow again. So he’s sounds

Jennifer Smith (38:41):

Like a riddle bib.

Aaron Smith (38:42):

Yeah, but he’s, what he’s saying is, do you ever see the oceans don’t keep overflowing, but yet water keeps going to them forever. And so the next verse, he says, all things are full of weariness. A man cannot utter it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing nor the ear filled with hearing.

Jennifer Smith (39:00):

So this goes back to what you said about how our bodies get accustomed to or adjusted to the chemicals released. And then we want more.

Aaron Smith (39:09):

Our eyes are never done wanting to see more things. It’s why the movie industry even exists. It’s why picture books have existed forever. It’s why paintings and artists and just what God created people that want to just be out in nature. You haven’t gone over a mountain crest on a hike and said, oh, that’s it. Yeah, I don’t need to see anymore. We’ve never seen enough. And the ear is the same. What it’s saying is the flesh is never satisfied. And so if you try and feed the flesh, it will only want more always. If we feed just these, the carnal when is the idea of carnal means fleshy. If we’re just walking in the flesh, then we’re just gratifying. Whatever the flesh wants, what it sees, it wants what it wants to hear, it hears what it wants to taste. It tastes what it wants to eat. It eats what it wants to drink. It drinks what it wants to where it wants to go. It goes rather than being subject to something else outside of your flesh that then dictates your flesh and says, no flesh. You go here. Yeah, I don’t want to go there. Well, it doesn’t matter. This is the right place to go. This is the good place to go when we’re at odds, what’s the right thing to do? Not the thing my flesh wants.

Jennifer Smith (40:19):

Stop, pray, hug, reconcile

Aaron Smith (40:22):

My flesh. Doesn’t want none of that. My flesh wants to be right. My flesh wants to be rec justified. My flesh wants to be everything that like to

Jennifer Smith (40:29):

Protect me. I was going to say, my flesh wants to leave the house right now. My flesh wants to,

Aaron Smith (40:32):

Well, that’s another. Yeah. My flesh wants to run. My flesh wants to hide, my flesh wants to shut down or yell. Because that’s how we deal with cortisol. Because those are, again, adrenaline cortisol. You are going to respond to that differently than I do. Yeah. That was another thing I was in that a book I’m reading. He was talking about how men do tend to respond differently in those when there’s a flooding of cortisol in the system, on average, men will shut down. They can’t handle it anymore. Too overwhelming. Where women who have a natural set ability to handle more because of children and a plethora of other things, di dynamics that go on a woman’s body and mind can’t handle more. Usually that’s not, doesn’t mean every single person that way. But

Jennifer Smith (41:20):

I think you mentioned this book in the last episode or two. But for those who might be new, what are you referring to?

Aaron Smith (41:26):

It’s the seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. Okay. Yeah. I haven’t finished yet, but I’m currently working on it. Really enjoying it.

Jennifer Smith (41:34):

Yeah. Okay. Well, okay. So you’re talking about if we live live by the flesh, eventually it will lead to destructive behaviors and ways of being that oppose God’s word and what he said.

Aaron Smith (41:51):

Well, and even if we don’t identify those behaviors as destructive, if we are living a life where we’re just trying to, I, I’m mad right now because you are not making me happy. I am. I’m unsatisfied right now because you have done this thing that has taken, stolen my happiness. You’re getting in the way of my happiness. If we’ve put our chemical responses again, if we just boil it down to what it is on a pedestal, we idolize those feelings of I need to be feeling a certain way all always with you. That’s a destructive behavior in itself because it’s not walking in the spirit. It’s not seeking after what pleases God. It’s not saying, okay, God, I don’t feel happy right now, but the right thing to do is to do this. The right thing to do is to love my wife as Christ loves the church. The right thing to do is to submit to my husband the right thing. To, yeah, my flesh never wants to do those things. Your flesh never wants to do those things.

Jennifer Smith (42:54):

So going back to that video that I watched about the rat, it was really interesting. There’s this part where there, there’s a flashing happiness sign for a new car. It looks like a red Porsche or something like that. The happiness car. It’s a happiness car. It actually looks really fun to drive. And so you see the next shot is him driving it and just cruising up and down these hills. The wind’s blowing, sun’s out, it’s awesome. And then he hits traffic and then he gets a parking ticket and it’s just like, wah wah. But it goes from that to then he’s sees a poster while he’s sitting in traffic for alcohol. And so then it shows him going through bottle. It’s a bottle of happiness bottles, it said, a bottle of happiness, and it shows him drinking to the point of passing out. And then it shows him getting a prescription for some drug, and he jumps into a bottle of pills, and then it switches the anime, the animation on the video switches completely like dream state.

(43:51)
Yeah. Euphoric, whatever effect that the drug had on him. But then he comes down off of that and he looks miserable, and then he is chasing money and it’s just going from one thing to the next. And it was so interesting. But at the very end, he gets trapped in a mouse trap, but his only his head and hands get trapped and it zooms out and he’s at a desk just working away with a bunch of other, to me, you hear that phrase, it’s the rat race. But he was just chasing one thing after another and everything let him down. Everything also gave him this huge disappointment and was leading him to these destructive behaviors. But nothing stopped. It just kept going in that same direction.

Aaron Smith (44:40):

And we do this in our marriages. We tend to as individuals, but also as a couple. We’ll say there’s this thing in the distance, and once we get that, then we’ll be happy. Once I get that new car, I’ll be happy that rat race or that promotion, then I’ll be happy. Or once my spouse starts treating me this way, I’m or doing X, then I’ll be

Jennifer Smith (45:05):

Happy. X, Y, and Z. Yeah.

Aaron Smith (45:06):

Once we get to a point together where we can, and it, Romans eight 13 puts it this way, for if you live according to the flesh, you will die. So how serious it is it that we recognize what is fleshly and what is not. If you live according to the flesh, you will die. But if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. So the deeds of the body is, it’s living in such a way that we are essentially worshiping ourselves and how we feel in the moment or don’t feel in the moment, rather than what does God say?

(45:45)
Who are we in Christ? So true happiness is much more than just a physical response to external stimuli. So physical happiness, those chemical responses is just that. It’s just a chemical response that can be switched on or based off of something going into your body or something that you’re seeing or experiencing. But God wants us to have something different, something much, much more than that physical response. Now, those physical responses are natural. They will come also, especially in the right confines, like in marriage, a lot of those chemicals are really good because they cause me to crave you. So that’s how God made us. But spiritual, our spiritual response, our spiritual happiness can come regardless of external stimuli like I was talking about with Paul and Peter in prison. And their true happiness had nothing to do with their circumstances. It had everything to do with something else. Why don’t you read that verse,

Jennifer Smith (46:52):

It’s Psalms one through three. Yeah. Blessed is the man who walks not in the council of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord. And on his law, he meditates day and night. He has a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither in all that he does. He prospers that last verse, verse three. That is that one of those mental pictures that if I was that tree sitting by the water yielding fruit, I would just be the happiest.

Aaron Smith (47:24):

Right? But the first Psalm, this first prayer, this first song tells us how to have true happiness. That word blessed it all. Also used as happy. Happy is the man who walks on the council of the wicked. And this is the man who is happy. This person who is blessed, this does one thing and doesn’t do another.

Jennifer Smith (47:50):

Delights in the law of Lord in the word

Aaron Smith (47:52):

And doesn’t seek or stand or walk with sinners and scoffers and wickedness. So he avoids those things and abides in another. He delights in the law of the Lord. He delights in the word of God and meditates on a day and night. So his mind is on God’s word. And because of that, he prospers. And when it’s saying prospers like it, I know we like to think of that. Oh, we’ll be financial, we’ll be right. But again, this blessedness, this happiness, it has nothing to do with our bank account or with the car that we have or our health or the food in the refrigerator. Every one of those,

Jennifer Smith (48:41):

The home we have, every single one of those things changes. At some point it starts to, and the Bible says that deteriorate or it gets used or

Aaron Smith (48:48):

Says, don’t, don’t be foolish. Chase after wealth for it’s here today and gone tomorrow, it withers like the grass. It just disappears. So this

Jennifer Smith (48:56):

Saying, he didn’t say that we’re like grass planted by a stream.

Aaron Smith (48:59):

No, we’re a tree. But if you see what it says, it says in its season, it bears fruit. It’s leaves never wither. So think about that as a human when unhappy, discontent, unsatisfied, we’re not in God’s word. Our eyes are on the wrong things. We’re looking for someone to just make us feel better or something to make us feel better.

Jennifer Smith (49:22):

I’ve heard other people say too, we’re withering when you’re not in God’s word for a while, people will say, I just feel like I’m in a spiritual drought, or I just feel like I’m in a desert. Have you heard people say

Aaron Smith (49:33):

That? Yeah. And we all know what that feels like. Yeah. Because we’ve all done it. And I was just watching another video of someone that a place did a study about people reading the word of God. And they took people and they said, people that were reading the word of God four times a week had 30% less depression, 30% more happiness, 30%. And it was just giving these examples of people just being just reading the word of God. They said like 65% less porn use. So all these big numbers changing just from someone reading the Bible regularly because it transforms us by renewing our noggins.

Jennifer Smith (50:09):

Then we make different choices,

Aaron Smith (50:11):

But we also think differently. That’s what we’re trying to talk about today, is if we think one way about happiness, then that’s what we’re going to do. So in changing how we think about our life and saying, is my marriage just here to make me happy right now? No, it’s here to do so much more than that. I think you had a really good note on here about how unhappiness is necessary. Can you share

Jennifer Smith (50:38):

That? Yeah. It was something that I was reading it that there was this, there’s this six week course study that Harvard puts out about happiness. That’s interesting. But somebody was reviewing this course and they pulled this quote from it, and it says, happiness requires some amount of unhappiness

Aaron Smith (51:02):

Because we need something to compare it to. But I think that’s the point though, is that if we just have having a spiritual view of our marriage, of our life, of things that we think make us happy, because there might be something that brings us happiness in our mind, in our bodies, that God’s like, I don’t want that for you. And so you actually have to choose to get rid of the thing that currently is making you happy. Like you said, food was something that you used to comfort you. I used to go to things that I shouldn’t, and I used to get satisfaction,

Jennifer Smith (51:36):

And I would get really frustrated if I restricted myself on a diet or whatever. And you felt unhappy and I felt very unhappy. But it wasn’t until I understood the purpose and the why and the reason why I was making that decision and agreeing with that and accepting it, that I actually felt happier without the thing

Aaron Smith (51:57):

And more empowered and stronger and healthier. But yet to change the way you thought about it. Yeah. You had to change how you thought about the thing that you thought was making you happy, right?

Jennifer Smith (52:07):

Yes.

Aaron Smith (52:08):

So like you said, we don’t have the answers, but the things that we wanted to point out to you guys listening is how are we defining our happiness in our marriage? Are we defining it based off of how we feel all the time? Are we just letting, because it,

Jennifer Smith (52:24):

When it goes to that feeling, like that feeling comes and goes, it doesn’t last. And it’s not realistic to have this desire to be happy all the time knowing that.

Aaron Smith (52:34):

Right. Well, when we recognize, wow, this is how I feel right now is I, there is spiritual connotations to how we feel. Sure. But in general, the physical response, when you have adrenaline in your body, there’s a actual physical feeling. You feel like you having a hard time breathing and your breath, your breathing is faster, and you’re sweating and you, you’re like, I just need to go and run and get out of here because your body’s trying to deplete that. But if we just look at our life and are just trying to define it by those responses to the stimulus that’s happening in our marriage or in our lives, we’re going to miss out on the deeper happiness that blessedness, that God’s calling us to experience with him that is so much more stable because it is there and available to us as believers, regardless of how our spouse is being, regardless of our circumstances, regardless of our health, our bank accounts, you name it. Yeah. Whatever you you’re looking at and think, that’s what I want to be happy. God says, no, I want you to be satisfied with me, and you’ll be blessed with that. And you’ll be like a tree who is never withering. And the fruit will come in its season and you’ll have the water of life flowing through your roots.

Jennifer Smith (53:56):

Amen. That was really good. I feel like we could

Aaron Smith (54:00):

Keep going. Let’s go. Okay. That was, no, I

Jennifer Smith (54:02):

Was going to say, I feel like we could stop right there.

Aaron Smith (54:04):

Okay. Right. Yeah. Let’s do it.

Jennifer Smith (54:06):

That was really good. Okay. So thanks for listening guys. We really do enjoy podcasting and being here with you. And so thanks for joining us. We always end every episode with a growth spurt, a moment where we can challenge you to do something specific that would encourage growth in your marriage. So this month, the month of August, we want to encourage you to keep your eyes on the prize on your spouse.

Aaron Smith (54:34):

Oh, your spouse is the prize. I like what you did there.

Jennifer Smith (54:36):

Your spouse is the prize. Don’t over them this month. To dote over someone means to show excessive fondness or love. Another definition said even in a foolish way. But to dote over them, keep your eyes on them. Go the lengths and go the distance to just make them smile. Okay, wait. I just, and

Aaron Smith (54:56):

Smile at them.

Jennifer Smith (54:57):

I was just going to say, do you remember the haha game? Yes. From junior high or whatever. Okay. You lay on each other, you put your on head on their belly.

Aaron Smith (55:06):

Well, one person lays on their back, the other person lays on their back. But at a, is it perpendicular? Yeah. So your head, my head is on your stomach and

Jennifer Smith (55:14):

Then you take turns saying haha, until, and you just go back and forth, back and forth. We did it in big groups of takes, but we

Aaron Smith (55:19):

Did it. Yeah. You do it with a lot of people and the first person says once the second person says, haha. And you kick that and you try and see how far you can get before everyone starts laughing.

Jennifer Smith (55:27):

Yeah. It was actually really fun. So if you want to do that with your spouse, you can do that. The haha game. The haha game. Anyways, make each other smile this week and just

Aaron Smith (55:38):

Smile at each other.

Jennifer Smith (55:40):

Yes. And just enjoy each other and try to be content in whatever’s going on in life and marriage.

Aaron Smith (55:47):

Awesome money. Pray for us. Okay.

Jennifer Smith (55:49):

Dear Lord, thank you for marriage. Whether times are good or more challenging, we pray we would hold fast to one another. We pray we would embrace and enjoy each other. We pray we would be grateful for the ways we make each other happy. Lord, help us to never idolize a state of happiness or pursue it above our relationship with you. We pray we can accept the times of unhappiness in order to appreciate the times we experience pure joy. May our emotions remain in control as we keep in step with your spirit. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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