“Joy to the world.” “Tidings of great joy.” Christmas is a season of joy. Or that’s the way it was meant to be. Part of what is hard is celebrating when things are just that – hard. The very first Christmas seemed more hard than joyful, but the angels sang anyway. In fact they sang because joy was lacking and it was time to bring joy into the world.

You need joy in your marriage too. When things seem particularly hard, intentionally remembering, finding, and creating moments of joy makes a big difference. And research proves it; marriages that survived were those where the partners could remember good things from the past, focused on good things in the present, and imagined good things in the future.

You’ve probably heard the Scripture many times: “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). That joy is not based on outside circumstances, even circumstances in your relationship. It comes as a gift that you choose to embrace, and it provides strength to do the next right thing.

Joy is my prayer for you this Christmas.

A Prayer for Joy

Father,

Wherever this holiday season finds this reader and their marriage, I ask that You bless them with the gift of joy.

With You there is reason for joy, even when to human eyes things seem dark.

When the pressures of life seem too much for their relationship, bless them with moments of joy that lift their sights and their spirits to what is good.

When the wounds they cause each other seem too deep for any healing, bless them with joy that brings relief and healing, knowing You can reach into the deepest and darkest places with miracle-working power.

When they seem so far apart that the slim threads of connection between them seem about to break, bless them with remembering joy from the past and moments of joy in the present that bring strength to keep investing in their relationship.

When they feel tempted to settle for too little, for misery, for basic survival, bless them with joy that helps them imagine the beautiful thing You are in the process of building out of their mess.

When it seems they have no strength to hold on and they have nothing more to bring to their relationship, bless them with unexpected moments of joy and even laughter that fuel their courage to keep going.

When the waves of shame or hurt seem ready to overwhelm them, bless them with the joy that removes the sting from the past and provides hope for tomorrow.

When they cannot see tomorrow and they don’t know what to do next, bless them with joy from outside themselves that makes tomorrow worth moving toward.

When they feel tempted to withdraw from each other or to lash out in frustration, bless them with joy that is not based on circumstances but that provides strength to be present and stay engaged, to give of themselves generously, and to be who You need them to be to their spouse in this season.

Thank You, Father, for blessing this marriage with the gift of JOY this Christmas season.

Amen.

Your Turn: What is your prayer for your marriage this Christmas season? And where can you find joy? Leave a comment below.

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  • Joy is most needed when things seem dark. The angels sang of joy at Christmas when the world seemed most joyless. I am praying joy over your marriage this Christmas season. Tweet that.

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