I’ve seen a concerning trend regarding happiness - with couples lately. They come to see me because they aren’t “happy.” They have fallen prey to our society’s lie that we should seek our own individual happiness above all else in this life. So when they are feeling less than happy, it’s time to make a change. Unfortunately, this is the reason far too many couples give for deciding to end their marriages. “We just aren’t happy anymore.”
Who promised us that we have a right to be happy? Who said our life would be easy? If anything, Jesus told us the opposite in John 16:33, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. “ He didn’t say “maybe it will happen”, or “if you make poor choices”, or even “if you marry the wrong person.” No! He said “you will.”
We crave instant gratification. We get frustrated when the drive thru takes longer than 5 minutes. No wonder, we choose to leave a marriage if it can’t be “fixed” in a month or less! But what are the repercussions? They are long standing and affect many lives. Marriage isn’t a decision we should make flippantly. It is the creation of a new family unit, whether the couple has children or not. When that gets torn apart, people are hurt.
When your life view is focused on being happy, then your goal is to remove anything that makes you unhappy and replace it with someone or something new. While that may sound good, in marriage it rarely works that way. Research has shown time and time again that your best chance for happiness is with the person you are currently married to.
Why? Again, divorce brings complications into our lives. Once divorced, you now have baggage to carry around. A second marriage and potential step family are much harder to make successful due to all of the extra people involved. Not impossible, just more complicated and harder.
So what’s the answer? Accepting that it’s not your spouse’s job to “make you happy.” That can only come from you and your personal relationship with Christ. Jesus goes on to explain in the rest of John 16:33, “But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” It is through Him that we can find our happiness, our joy. Once we have that within us, then we can focus on ways to enrich and improve our marriage. We can see our partner for who he/she truly is and begin to accept him/her, even with all of his/her faults. Only then can true change be effected in your marriage.