Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Pursuit of Happiness

Maintaining a marriage relationship is a lot of work. It requires a lot of effort and attention, but it is a good and healthy sort of work. But what does it look like to work at being happy within the boundaries of a relationship?

Sometimes, people try to give up on what they like to do to support a serious relationship. They follow the idea of self-sacrifice in a way that is often self-destructive. It is always important to remember that being in a serious relationship should never require you to give up on the things that are hardwired into you, those things that make you feel happy and fulfilled.

I love to read. I have dreamed about having a fairly extensive personal library since I first started reading chapter books (and have had many a conversation about God with the possible materialistic temptations that go along with that.... ;). I enjoy playing Halo with the guys. I have other hobbies and habits that I enjoy as well.

Now, don't get me wrong, pursuing your hobbies doesn't mean that you can do whatever you want whenever you want. Within any relationship, there are times when you need to give of yourself. Your hobbies are fine, but the timing needs to be appropriate. This doesn't just begin on a marriage day, but a marriage day can change this dynamic.

For some reason, couples tend to be a lot more willing to do what the other person wants before marriage. There are a myriad of reasons that make this so. It has to do with how much time you spend with your significant other, with the changing of commitment during different stages of life, and even how much you try to impress each other. After all, getting married comes with this feeling of success.

After getting married, it can become more obvious that one side of a couple likes to go hiking a lot more than it seemed. Different hobbies and past times can become a little more difficult to deal with (such as my unceasing desire to read during almost every free moment--Courtney didn't see much of that in college because I didn't have any free time!).

But, if you are careful to balance the joys you get out of your favorite past times with making sure that your relationship is healthy, you'll find that you enjoy being married much more and feel more like yourself. The balancing act can be difficult at times, but it is always worth it.


(Court's post on this topic is here)

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