Optimism – The concept of the word optimism is found in the Latin word “optimum” meaning best. Those who are optimistic expect the best possible outcome from a situation. It’s about looking forward.

Optimism – a general disposition to expect the best in all things.

Psychologists have spent years studying optimism to determine whether optimism is an inheritable trait, or a trait which shows up because of environment. And as in many areas, social scientists can’t decide conclusively for one theory or the other. (If you’re interested, a book I’ve enjoyed addressing this area of being born an optimist/pessimist is called “Breaking Murphy’s Law” by Suzanne C. Segerstrom. She adds humor to the dryness of social science.)

But don’t worry. Whether you believe you’re an optimist or not, as Christians we can look at optimism with an added view – one of hope. (Read more about HOPE in marriage here.)

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity;
an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
– Winston Churchill

An Optimist believes/thinks:

  • there are always options – you merely need to find them
  • being optimistic will help the process of bouncing back from adversity
  • you will have the opportunity to use the options available
  • being happy grows from the inside… what’s outside doesn’t determine happiness
  • being optimistic will lessen the feelings of stress
  • encouraging someone else doesn’t take away from your own acheivement
  • using positive language and gestures are a worthwhile contribution
  • thankfulness is possible in every circumstance
  • optimism can exist in direct proportion with God-grounded (and honoring) confidence

Why can I make these statements? It’s because…

Being Optimistic is one of our differentiating Values

I’ve talked about how we have chosen three Values as sign posts – or rumble strips – to help in making decisions, and to be a check and balance as husband and wife. They’re rank ordered. The first is Loyalty. The second is Optimism. The third is Discovery. Every couple will have different Values – our three Values will not fit your marriage, in the same way the three Values you would choose wouldn’t fit us. When we’ve done workshops with couples on how to discover their Differentiating Values, there has never been two couples who have the same three Values. Ever.

Here’s what optimism looks like in our marriage:

Optimism is the theme of our life. Looking for good in all circumstances might be a challenge, but we’re still determined to pursue optimism. Being positive in the face of negativity is fun. (Especially if it annoys those pessimists we come across – and, if you’re wondering, realists are pessimists just called a different name!)

When a decision in word or deed is necessary, we work to be optimistic regardless of the price. Not all of life is positive. (I’m sure that doesn’t come as a surprise to you, does it?) Some stuff that happens can be really lousy and decisions from these lousy situations are a grouping of highly priced options – there’s no clear winner. Regardless of the price which comes from the decision we make – we will frame it in our hearts, words, and memories in a positive light. Even if the only positive we can find is deciding we learned something. (That connects to one of our three personal differentiating Values – Discovery.)

I’m sure there are those who find our deliberate optimism disingenuous. Or annoying. But it’s a Value-choice we’ve made for our life and we strive to live it. Choosing to be optimistic has brought us much joy, even in the face of what others would name as disaster.

And finally, we glorify God by being optimistic. How?  We seek to be positive in our interactions with others. It’s important to us to always speak the truth in love, and not spread any negativity. We serve a God of HOPE – we feel we don’t have any motivation to dwell in negativity because we are constantly experiencing how much God loves us.

Yes – regardless of how filled with mistakes and how many times we blunder through where we should know better, God love us. All of us. You, me, and every person on this planet has God’s love within grasp. Our creative, loving, omnicient, and omnipresent God has a universal will to save us all – to gather us all together to be with Him.

What would the Value of Optimism look like in your marriage?

Optimism in Marriage Grow Old with ME - the best is yet to be... Optimism is the faith taht leads to achievement.

I’m putting these posts – “A to Z” Values – all under the FAMILY portion of this site. Why? Every one of these Values words will be a blessing to each spouse – but more than that… they’ll benefit your whole family!

Imagine if you are motivated add Optimism to your relationship with your spouse – what kind of impact will that have on your family? On your children? I’m guessing that your children and family will only benefit as they watch the two of you standing together – looking with hope to the future.

This is part of an Instagram challenge for July 2016 – A to Z and a few numbers… ( check out our Instagram account) and it’s become a series of Values posts!  The posts in this series can be found on the PAGE – 27 Values to Enrich your Marriage  (BTW – If you’re reading this post before the end of July 2016, then the page isn’t complete… I’m still writing! 😉 )

27 Values to Enrich your Marriage - 27 values for your marriage


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Discover Your Values as a Couple

How can you make sure those values you live – together as husband and wife– are consistent, cohesive, and have a lasting impact?

Values help you prioritize - decide when and what to do in a situation, and then remain consistent in all your decisions.

Check out the guide and workbook for couples!

Also includes an audio version!