Marriage isn’t easy. It’s mind-blowing, I know. There are good days and bad days and every relationship has its joys and struggles. And in the difficult times of marriage it is easy to become disillusioned with the whole thing. Many interpret this disillusionment as a reason to jump ship, to throw in the towel, to head for the hills. Honestly, I understand this mentality. It’s fight or flight at the core of it. And I’ve been there myself. I can guarantee that my wife would tell you the same. And I’m okay with that. I’ve come to realize that it’s natural.
Thankfully in our case, neither of us has chosen to give up. There are days when I don’t feel butterflies for her. There are days when she wants to rip my head off, and rightly so.
Sometimes my wife doesn’t make me happy.
Yes, I said it. But that’s okay. Because after seven years of marriage and seven years of walking with God, I’ve come to realize that as great as she is, and as much as I need her, my wife is not the ultimate source of my happiness.
It sounds crazy to say it. It’s counter-cultural. That’s because our culture has engrained in us this concept that marriage is about happiness. And in a sense it is true. But the happiness of marriage is not an emotional happiness. The happiness of marriage is more like the happiness of the Sermon on the Mount. You know, when Jesus preached the Beatitudes—those challenging proclamations about the gift of suffering (see Matthew 5). His words were counter-cultural as well. But they are true.
So when I say that sometimes my wife doesn’t make me happy, I’m not saying that I don’t love her, or that I don’t find joy in our relationship. What I am saying is that although there are moments of happiness in my marriage, happiness isn’t the purpose of my marriage.
The real purpose of marriage is holiness.
As husband and wife we aren’t in it for what we can get out of it, but rather what we can put into it. We are tasked with a life-long mission of leading each other to heaven.
It’s an arduous journey. But the glorious thing about it is that the happiness we do experience doesn’t come from each other, but from God. He is the source of our happiness. And coming to odds with that has helped me in those moments of disillusionment because when at any given moment of the day I realize that my wife doesn’t always make me happy, I can take a deep breathe, accept it, thank God for it, and continue on loving her.
So although my marriage doesn’t always seem like a Disney movie, I can trust in the fact that God is working in me, through my spouse He is helping me to learn and to grow, to get to know Him more intimately through my marriage to my wife. It’s not always easy to see, but when my eyes are opened to realize it, it sets my heart at ease and gives me hope to keep on loving.
Question: Do you depend on your spouse to make you happy, do you think of your spouse as the source of your happiness? If so, has this created pressure on them or tension in your marriage?