Maybe after reading some of the PreEngaged.com posts, you are thinking, “There is so much to know about relationships! Is there anything small I can do that will make a significant difference in my relationship without me having to turn my world upside down?!?!” There sure is…. and it’s simple… smile. If you’ve read the title of this post and thought of the movie Elf, I’m sure you couldn’t help but smile.
Perhaps the advice above may seem too simplistic; but, I guarantee you, it is a small thing that will make a huge difference. We don’t realize how much we walk around with unpleasant or sour expressions on our faces. Maybe we are concentrating, maybe we have a headache, or perhaps we’re worried about something. Yet, if we don’t make a conscious effort to keep a smile on our faces, then most of the time, we won’t have them.
Am I suggesting that we walk around faking our burdens or pretending that all is well? No, not at all. I think it is incredibly important to be open about your fears and failures with your future spouse. Continually smiling also does not mean that you are trying to deceive others into believe that you have only little or no problems. What it does show, however, is that you are choosing to find joy in the midst of your difficult situations. When we feel terrible, whether physically or emotionally, forcing ourselves to smile tends to lift our spirits and make us think about positive things. Not only that, but smiles are contagious. When I’m feeling low and I pass someone who just gives me a pleasant smile, I instantly feel better. No, it doesn’t make my problems go away, but it gives my heart a lift. It reminds me that there are so many things about which to smile in life.
What does this have to do with preparing for marriage? Plenty…. The first few months of your marriage will likely be filled with lots of smiles and a few frowns. The next few months might involve lots of smiles and lots of frowns. If you don’t make an effort to smile in the good times and bad, before you know it, you will frown more than you smile. Marriage is hard work. There will be days when you wonder if you’ve made a mistake in marrying the other person. There will be days when you will miss the freedom of singleness and not having to subject your schedule to another person. There will be days when your spouse breaks your heart. If these issues are not resolved, these issues will pile up inside your heart and mind… and they will affect your face.
We’ve all been around couples who are not happy together. They don’t seem to want to touch or talk to each other in public. Their interactions are short and curt. How often do you see a couple genuinely smiling at each other while having a damaging fight? It just doesn’t happen. Smiling does not solve all of our problems; however, smiling does remind us of our blessings and lifts our spirits. It makes us want to show good will towards our neighbors. The more we smile, the better we treat our loved ones. The better we treat our loved ones, the less we fight with them over our selfish desires.
This may sound like a simple thing, but it will take practice for most of us. For the next seven days, I challenge you to practice and maintain a smiling face. It will feel weird at first, but it’s worth the effort. Notice how your interactions with your future spouse change when smiling becomes the norm. If you are already married, you will likely experience changes even more. Your spouse may think something is wrong with you (at first), but once they realize that you have not lost your mind, they will probably prefer the new smiling you! Take note of the changes and challenge your spouse, or future spouse, to do the same. Happy smiling!
What specific activities, events, thoughts, or displays of behavior make you smile?