The Sweet Christian Bride

The Joy of Generosity

by admin on January 5, 2012 in Relationship with No Comments

A new meaning given to breakfast in bed: happiness.

New meaning?  Well, of course the spouse who received the stack of hot, scrumptious pancakes without having to even roll out of bed would be happy, you say.  I, however, am referring to the spouse who rose early, thought about what would make his or her beloved happy, and went through the task of making a favorite breakfast.

According to the New York Times Magazine article “The Generous Marriage” by Tara Parker-Pope, those who are generous in marriage are also more happy in marriage.  This might seem counter to our Western notion of gain as happiness, but it is right in line with the Biblical principles of blessedness being more aptly found in giving than in receiving.

Generosity, as defined by University of Virginia’s W. Bradford Wilcox in the article, is “going above and beyond the ordinary expectations with small acts of service and making an extra effort to be affectionate.”  This means that typical give-and-take in household chores, income earning, and child-rearing are already a given.  Beyond the “expected” sharing of tasks that comprises team work, generosity is an act of service, whether small or big, that stems from the perspective, “What else can I do to bless my beloved?”.  It is by nature a selfless perspective.

It makes sense that those who are selfless would be more inclined towards happiness because their joy is not found in their measure of gain, but in others’.  There are fewer expectations that risk being unmet by the distorted realities of entitlement, and there are greater opportunities to see love enacted.  The more you or I think about how to give to or do for our beloveds, the more we remember that we love them.  As Wilcox is quoted in the article, generosity is “a virtuous cycle.”

If you are wondering how to bring more happiness into your engagement, try offering small acts of kindness.  At the heart of generosity is humility, compassion, and love, which when found in Christ are all ingredients for a contented person, and thus for a successful marriage.  You can even take the New York Times Magazine’s quiz about generosity to use as a conversation starter between you and your fiancé for how to build generosity in your relationship.

By Lindsay

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