Choir Notes

Generosity of Spirit
From Music and the Spoken Word
Delivered By: Lloyd d. Newell • Program 4299

Years ago, Jenkins Lloyd Jones wrote the following about marriage, and about life: "There seems to be a superstition among many thousands of our young [men and women]... that marriage is a cottage surrounded by perpetual hollyhocks to which a perpetually young and handsome husband comes home to a perpetually young and [beautiful] wife....

"Anyone who imagines that bliss [in marriage] is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he has been robbed.

"[The fact is] most putts don’t drop. Most beef is tough. Most children grow up to be just people. Most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration....

Life is like an old-time rail journey—delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed.”1

So how do married couples keep love alive after the season of hollyhocks has passed and a few weeds start to appear?

Recently, a team of researchers surveyed thousands of married men and women and discovered something that most couples already know: spouses who are emotionally generous with each other are happier. That common-sense finding gets at the heart of marital happiness—what changes hearts and homes and families is generosity of spirit, which the researchers define as "the virtue of giving good things to [one’s spouse] freely and abundantly.”2 And what does that look like in a marriage? It includes small acts of service, hugs and kisses, forgiveness, patience, and a willingness to give each other the benefit of the doubt, to look past annoyances and into each other’s heart.

It’s true that marriage is not always a smooth journey, but our generosity toward each other makes the bumps and dust bearable while together we await the next beautiful vista.

1 "Big Rock Candy Mountains,” Deseret News, June 12, 1973, A4; quoted in Gordon B. Hinckley, "A Conversation with Single Adults,” Ensign, Mar. 1997, 60.
2 In Lois M. Collins, "Generosity with Spouse Key to Why Married Parents Happier than Others, Study Says,” Deseret News, Dec. 12, 2011, www.deseretnews.com.

No comments:

Christmas Countdown