All “chick flicks” usually end with a lovely bride and content groom standing at the alter. Fairytales never cover the “happily ever after” part. They are always so happy because they finally found their true love. Maybe you started out like this? You thought you married the perfect person, but now you are just not happy. What went wrong? Is this really the way God intended marriage to be? The answer is “no!” God wants you to be happy and married.
3 ways to be married AND happy
1. Your instinct is wrong
When your spouse says/does something you don’t like you tend to immediately react. Your first response is usually wrong and changes the relationship in a negative way. This first instinct is destroying your potentially happy marriage.
You know “instinct”… that same carnal urge that tells you to eat the entire pizza. That voice that says “don’t go to work today, just stay in bed.” If you followed your instinct you would be 900 pounds heavier and broke. Your initial instincts are wrong and that is why you have to tell them to “shut up”. Unfortunately, when it comes to decisions regarding love , this instinct suddenly becomes the most important voice. I mean…listen to our instinct at work.
“He failed to do what I asked, again! I should tell him off and make him feel like the child that he is-Then he’ll get the message!”
“She treated me like a little kid, I should respond to her by acting like a little kid, that will show her!”
“He never makes me feel valued. I should withhold sex from him, that will teach him!”
“She is spending all our money and doesn’t listen to me when I ask her to stop. I should punish her by remaining silent all day, she will get the idea!”
Your instinct is like that financial consultant that keeps telling you to make bad investments. How much money do you have to lose before you stop listening? Every time you follow your instinct your marriage becomes less happy and more emotionally charged. Instead of your instinct, do what this verse teaches:
Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:31
Come on now…don’t blow that off. That is profound! Every person, regardless of our failures, want and even expect to be treated with kindness and respect from others and especially our spouse. Instead of blindly following your animal instincts, that constantly lie to you, do this instead!
Nothing gets in the way of being happily married more than pride. Your marriage is not unique, pride always takes the form in the same old scenario….
You believe that you are not in the wrong, or if you are wrong you only share 5 -15% of the blame. You say to yourself that the real problem is your spouse-who is the comparable 85 -95%. Your pride is killing a potentially happy marriage in two ways:
- Pride blinds you from seeing the real percentages. Actually you may be a little more in the 25 -35% range which puts you dang close to half.
- Pride makes you think percentages are important. It doesn’t matter how much of the pie is yours. Humility says that my only responsibility is to recognize and apologize for MY percentage and let my spouse manage theirs.
Your pride may plug your ears, but the secret to finding happiness in your marriage is right here:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. Philippians 2:3
3. It DOES NOT take two to Tango
This old tired analogy insinuates that one person cannot make their marriage healthier and happier on their own. This is foolish. One person absolutely has the power to influence the relationship in a positive direction. In fact, never in the history of marriage, have both partners simultaneously come to the conclusion that they should be a better spouse. No, it is up to one bold person at a time to start making the necessary changes that will alter the trajectory of their marriage.
If you wait for your spouse to change before you make changes, you will be in a perpetual stale mate at best. Somebody has to change first. Romans 14:12 gives us some healthy perspective:
So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.
We will not have to give an account for our spouse, our friends or our kids. We will be asked to give an account for ourselves.
At the end of the day, all marriage advice comes down to one truth: YOU be the best spouse that YOU can be. It may not always feel like it, but this is God’s key to being married AND happy.