The secret to having a happy marriage is to realize that marriage alone cannot make you happy. Take a look at this excerpt from chapter one of our marriage book, How to Fight for Your Marriage Without Fighting with One Another, to learn how to truly have a happy marriage.
Chasing a Mirage?
Marriage has the best sales yet the worst advertising of any product on the market. As a result, it still amazes me how many singles look to a relationship with the opposite gender or marriage itself as a major source for happiness.
Though marriage is a marvelous institution, it must be noted that happy singles make happy married people. If a person is unhappy or unfulfilled before marriage, unless something changes within, they will fall short of enjoying a happy marriage.
What is a Great Marriage?
Here is one of the many ways that I describe what makes a great marriage:
A great marriage is when two full grown adults wake up with their cup of happiness and fulfillment full to overflowing. What spills out of that cup is what should land on the other person.
Do you wake up happy despite the behavior of your spouse? Or, has it been your custom to go through the day thinking that if your spouse would make the right changes, then you could see yourself enjoying a happy marriage? A spouse’s answers to these questions can sometimes be the dividing line between an unhappy or a happy marriage.
If you are waiting for your spouse to change before feeling happy and content, then you are chasing a mirage. Quite simply, you are investing in a stock that will always yield few returns in that your spouse is too small to be your sole source of emotional and spiritual sustenance. In fact, I often teach that looking to your spouse for happiness and fulfillment can be likened to trying to fill a 55 gallon barrel with a thimble full of water. Your spouse is simply too small in comparison with God.
The Promises of God
The promises of God concerning your own happiness and contentment never hinge upon your spouse’s obedience or disobedience to God. In fact, the promises of God concerning happiness and joy only rely upon your faith in the faithfulness of God. Any other approach will cause your emotional state to be like a yo-yo on the string of your spouse’s inconsistencies, and you will be prone to be up one day and down the next.
When couples enter into marriage looking for happiness, they end up, as Patrick Morely states, becoming “two tics with no dog” (2.). That is, they suck the life right out of one another, and, it is not too long before they are looking elsewhere for fulfillment.
Fullness of Joy
Psalm 16:11 tells us that in God’s presence there is “fullness of joy”. The usage of the word fullness teaches us that there is no room for improvement upon the joy that God supplies.
Marriage, on the other hand, is the exact opposite in that, after the wedding day, we quickly see areas in ourselves, the other person, and the relationship that are often lacking.
Notwithstanding, lest some feel that I have some type of monastic or stoic attitude toward marriage, I would like to point out that I believe that God desires for us to have a happy marriage. This is clearly evident from Proverbs 5.
The Proverbs 5:19 Principle
Proverbs 5:19 tells us that the husband is to always be ravished with the love of his wife. According to Webster’s dictionary from 1828, the word ravished means to delight to ecstasy. The word ecstasy means to be carried away with extreme delight or joy. Therefore, we can conclude that marriage is to be a an emotionally fulfilling relationship, but only after Christ has become what your spouse can never be, your all in all (Ephesians 1:23).
I deem marriage to be the icing on top of the cake. That is, matrimony is a fringe benefit to what the Lord has already done in our lives. Unfortunately, some men and women have little or no cake upon which that icing can rest. In cases as such, their mates often grow weary in their attempts at blessing them as, deep down, I believe they know they can never take the place of God in their lives.
Ordering Our Marriage Book
Our marriage book, How to Fight for Your Marriage Without Fighting With One Another, has been designed for individual as well as small group study use. It also makes a great couples devotional with thought-provoking questions at the end of each chapter. Order our marriage book at our online resource center, or you may also check out our Kindle Version for immediate download.