So let me bum you out really quickly today… your spouse will never be able to make you happy. For some, this reality is more than they can comprehend. We are programmed in this culture to wait for someone to come into our lives to offer us endless happiness. Here’s a sobering thought: God, the uncreated One, the maker of Heaven and Earth, who sent His only Son to die on a cross so that we could have eternal life… God Himself has not even promised to make us endlessly happy. “What?!?! How can you say that? God significantly cares about our endless happiness!” No, God cares about our holiness much more than our happiness. What’s awesome about striving to be holy is that His joy fills our lives. Even when circumstances would naturally cause us to be angry, afraid, or weary, His joy stays with us when we are in His will. This joy is not the same as happiness. As my childhood pastor used to say, “Happiness is based on happenings.” A person cannot guarantee you a lifetime of good happenings – hard times are going to come.
“If you’re not happy being single, you won’t be happy dating. If you’re not happy dating, you won’t be happy engaged. If you’re not happy being engaged, you won’t be happy married… and if you aren’t happy married, you won’t be happy divorced.” Most of us, if we aren’t paying attention, tend to look to the next stage of life as being the stage that will make us happy. Before I could, I can remember wanting to drive so much that I was having dreams about driving my cousin’s car through J.C. Penney’s. I wanted that freedom so badly I could taste it. My sixteenth birthday was on a Sunday and that seemed like a cruel joke since the DMV is closed on Sundays.
The first thing I did after getting my license was drop my dad off at home so I could go on a drive alone! I was so happy to be driving! And then… I realized my responsibilities at work increased because I was now mobile. My responsibilities at home also increased… and this pesky little thing called car insurance now consumed at least a third of my paycheck. After driving was no longer a novelty, I couldn’t wait to meet Prince Charming and get married. After all, he would sweep me off of my feet and provide a life of happiness for me! … Now that I’m married, Eric and I have good times, but I also have twice as much responsibility and workload than I ever did before. When I’m not careful, I catch myself thinking that having children will make me happy; but I’m almost positive having kids will increase my responsibilities in life exponentially – and if I’m not happy prior to having them, then having them won’t make me happy.
We have to face it at some point, we aren’t always going to be happy. We will have days where we struggle to get out of bed. Then again, there will be days we are so excited to get out of bed that we wake every few hours, hoping it’s time to get up. If we cannot guarantee our own happiness, then how can we expect someone else to guarantee our happiness? Often we hear people who separate from their spouse say, “I just don’t love him/her anymore. He/she hasn’t made me happy in a long time.” I’m not talking about the spouse that left due to abuse or an unfaithful partner… I’m talking about the people who just decide they want out simply because the life-long partner they chose is no longer meeting their demands and desires.
Be honest with yourself: are you looking towards marriage as something that will rescue you from any despair you are feeling? Are you believing that everything will be alright once you have someone in your life full-time… someone that you never have to leave at night? If so, I would strongly recommend committing this area of your life to prayer. Ask God how you can find your true fulfillment in Him instead of in another person.
Admittedly, your spouse can provide opportunities for you to be happy; however, happiness is your choice. You likely know of a person or two who seem perpetually happy no matter what life throws at them. Some people have life fairly easy – while others have very difficult circumstances. In either case, it’s still up to the attitude of the heart. Choose to be happy. Choose to appreciate what God has given you – regardless of any limitations or difficult circumstances you have. The additional blessing is that when you choose to be happy, you also naturally smile more and your future spouse will be grateful for that attribute.
What expectations do you have of your future spouse to make you happy? What expectations do you think he or she will have of you in that area?
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