Do you know the 4 habits that will fill your marriage with joy?

Marcus Warner and Chris Coursey have written an intriguing new book entitled, The 4 Habits of Joy-Filled Marriages.


I love the underlying premise of this book: You can build joy into your marriage. Without trying to fix everything in the past, and without trying to control your spouse, you can take definite, positive action to increase the joy in your relationship. How encouraging! Many couples need that kind of hope.

Brain science, joy, and marriage

In this book, the authors explain that recent discoveries in brain science demonstrate how these four habits stimulate joy and build stronger bonds in marriage. The explanations are neither technical nor detailed, but they are interesting and motivating.

Although this book is short and easy-to-read, it includes a separate chapter on each of the four habits, as well as many practical activities for couples to do together. These exercises show “how 15 minutes a day will help you stay in love,” as the subtitle of the book claims. These activities are designed to build connection and boost joy in any marriage—including yours!

The four habits that enhance joy

1. Play together. It is easy to get caught-up in the busyness of married life and to neglect the core of healthy marriage, which is friendship. But if you are willing to be intentional and to invest the time and effort, you can strengthen your friendship … and amplify your joy.


2. Listen for emotion. Truly listening to one another is a great gift in any marriage, but learning to listen for emotions is even more powerful. You can learn to hear your spouse’s emotion, validate it, and then provide comfort (in that order). This is the type of listening that will create the biggest joy-boost in your marriage.

3. Appreciate daily. Even more than saying “thank you,” taking the time to experience genuine appreciation will expand your joy dramatically.

4. Nurture rhythms. Schedule regular times in your calendar to connect and relax with your spouse. “As you learn to start your day relationally, end your day relationally, and schedule regular times for relational connection, your capacity for joy will dramatically increase and your margin for rest will follow suit” (106).


A helpful guideline

The authors repeated a phrase several times in this book which I think is a great principle:

Keep your relationship bigger than the problem.

When a problem is overwhelming your friendship, take time to prioritize your marriage. Tell your spouse that you value your relationship more than anything else. It is usually best to put a problem aside until you stabilize the relationship.

If you would like to fill your marriage with joy, you will love this little book! You will learn that you can change your relational posture and that you can recalibrate your brain to experience greater joy.

A book giveaway

Which of the four habits grabs your attention the most?  If you would like to enter the drawing for a copy of this book, leave a comment below by June 23. One winner will be selected at random and will receive a paperback copy of The 4 Habits of Joy-Filled Marriages, compliments of Northfield Publishing.

Coming soon…

Next week, I will be posting a video interview with Chris Coursey, co-author of The 4 Habits of Joy-Filled Marriages, so be sure to watch for that HERE!

Joy to you,

(If you missed the interview with Ron and Jody Zappia as they discussed The Marriage Knot, you can view that HERE.)

Please like and share! :)


Susan · June 23, 2019 at 3:37 pm

Love these godly principals and how they not only apply to marriages but other relationships as well.

    Tami · June 24, 2019 at 5:01 pm

    You are right, Susan! Someone even told me how she is applying these principles to her relationship with God.

Virgil & Lea Ullom · June 13, 2019 at 2:50 am

Keep your relationship bigger than the problem is an important part of loving one another “as I have loved you.”

    Tami · June 20, 2019 at 12:03 am

    Very true! Thank you for your comment. ❤

Carolyn · June 13, 2019 at 12:14 am

Showing appreciation is so true – I love to hear appreciation for the acts of service I do for my family – it makes it all worth it. from what I read, our husbands like to know they are appreciated for the hard work they put in at work. I also think he’d be more willing to help around the house if I showed more appreciation and encouragement. I need to work on incorporating appreciation on a daily basis…I also like “Keep your relationship bigger than the problem.”

    Tami · June 13, 2019 at 12:24 am

    Thank you for your good comments, Carolyn. Expressing appreciation to our spouse is important, but this book points out how important it is to feel appreciative on our part. Saying “thank you” is a left-brain activity, but genuine appreciation is a right-brain/relational activity. Interesting, isn’t it? … Hope to see you this weekend!

Susan · June 12, 2019 at 6:49 pm

Appreciate daily- I need to let my guy know all the ways I do appreciate him!

    Tami · June 12, 2019 at 11:49 pm

    Thank you for your comment, Susan. Blessings to you!

Sally Friscea · June 12, 2019 at 2:03 pm

Listen to Emotions – I like to joke around, so does he, but it’s not good if the other person is not in the mood for whatever reason. No need to add hurts that are avoidable.

    Tami · June 12, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    You are a wise bride, Sally! 🙂 Thank you for your comment. Blessings to you!

Reena Elizondo · June 12, 2019 at 4:59 am

Nurture rhythms to me stands out the most. To have time to reconnect and listen to each other where it’s to vent, for how the day was leaving time daily for this is as important as praying together as well

    Tami · June 12, 2019 at 12:48 pm

    Thank you for your good comment, Reena. I agree that those daily connections are really important–and it is easy to lose them if you don’t make it a regular part of your routine. Blessings to you, Reena!

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