When love flows abundantly, we both feel so connected, romantic, enthusiastic and joyful. This is the blissful state of marriage and relationships that we all long for, work for, and desire.
And yet, there are times, and perhaps they can unfortunately become the majority of the time, where we are lacking this feeling. Our relationship can feel bitter & cold, disconnecting, or worse–boring and routine.
Because we are born for connection, there is only so long we can withstand this negative atmosphere. We make efforts to reconnect, or to spice up our relationship. Perhaps we learn to communicate our needs better. After all, if she really knows how I feel, things will change. Or maybe we purchase and read “50 ways to Rekindle Romance” books together. Or maybe we start expressing gratitude towards our spouse, which is just fantastic.
Eventually, though, if these don’t work, many of us fall into despair. How can’t we? We so desperately want to connect – specifically with our lover’s soul – and yet feel so hopeless, helpless and alone. The pain we experience needs an outlet, which often shows up as depression and loneliness. Tears are shed, and sadness sets in.
But perhaps there is another way? What would happen if we reacted in the exact opposite way of what seems logical and comes so naturally?
Enter the Rebbe Rashab – Rabbi Sholom Dovber, the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe. During his leadership of the Chabad Chassidic dynasty (1892-1920) he coined an important phrase: “simcha poretz geder”— joy breaks through boundaries. The Rebbe taught his followers that by behaving in the manner which truly reflects your desired outcome – joy – even if that reaction is the exact opposite of what the situation demands, we actually can break through the painful limitations manifesting what we deeply long for.
This is because when we force ourselves to be happy, in spite of our circumstance, we proclaim that the physical world, and even the emotional world, holds no power over us. We are stating, loud & clear, to ourselves and to the universe: “No matter what happens, I will settle for nothing less than happiness!”
On a spiritual level, we are also leaning-in to our faith and belief that all that happens to us is not ultimately for the good, but is actually for our good, right now.
And, this joy is infectious. When my spouse is smiling and loving and happy with me and our love, I feel it too. She has the ability to bring me out of my own relationship-melancholy and raise my energy levels to match hers. I feel light, loving, giving and connected – exactly the mood we both desire.
5 Ways to Break into Joy!
- Great Music. Play your favorite tunes–loud! Just the rhythm of a great, upbeat song can get those grins coming on strong!
- Connect with an encouraging friend. Go to lunch. Don’t talk negative – just share and chat and let them elevate your ego a bit to where it belongs.
- Do a kindness for someone else. When we extend ourselves for others, we often reflect on how fortunate we are, and how good our lives actually are.
- Your first time: Remind yourself of some of the first, best moments with your partner. These are the memories that bring the most warmth and love to your heart.
- Faith: By extending your trust, you open up new perspectives and understandings that can replace the negative messages you keep replaying, over and over.
Is it hypocritical to express joy externally when you are feeling sadness inside? Yes, and no. Yes, because I have pain in my heart–how can I be happy? But no, because joy is where I want to be, what my true desire is–why not express it?
When you choose joy over sadness, you are letting Gd, your partner and yourself know, that this is really what you demand and are committed to. And nothing will get in your way.
Now, let’s see that smile! ?