I married my high school sweetheart over 10 years ago. He is confident, smart, reliable, loyal, out-spoken, well-spoken, a mindful leader, organized, capable and, most importantly, he believes everything the Bible says about Jesus. Not to mention, he’s pretty cute (lucky for me because the three little people I care for daily look just like him!)!
People often refer to their spouse as their “other half.” I think this is a scary mistake. Your spouse is not your other half. We are meant to be whole people despite our marital status, aren’t we?
I hear people speak of their spouse in what they think are affectionate terms in saying their spouse makes them feel happy, loved, purposeful and provided for. I read an article recently where the wife said, “I married my husband because he made me happy. But now I realize he also makes me a better person.”
What do you think about that?
At first, we read that and are left with warm, fuzzy feelings. We are happy for that couple.
But think about that dynamic for a minute. It puts a TON of pressure on the husband who, unintentionally, is going to disappoint his wife from time to time (he’s going to let himself down every now and again, too). There will be times when she does not feel like he’s making her a better person. When he’s not making her happy. Surely they’ve experienced these times and she is referring to overcoming them and feeling stronger because of those difficulties. I get it.
It’s meant to be positive. I just think this mentality is the beginning of the marriage break down.
Our completeness, purpose, identity and happiness cannot be found in our spouse.
We are so busy pursuing a “happy marriage” because we think that’s the ultimate goal. We – often subconsciously – put a pressure on our spouse to create this happy marriage with or for us. But we are indecisive people. What makes us happy today may frustrate us tomorrow.
So…why do we seek happiness in the first place?
It’s short lived. Happiness is circumstantial. We are happy for a time, then it fades and we need something new or something else to make us happy again, don’t we?
I can take my children to the toy store and let them shop for hours. I can tell them I will buy them any toy they want. They get to choose anything! We ride home with our new prized possessions. Happiness ensues. But, by the time we get home, they are already asking for something else.
Happiness is fleeting. Happiness wavers.
I don’t want to live an emotional roller coaster. I don’t think it’s right or fair – to me or my husband – for me to hold him responsible for my happiness. Besides that, I want more than happiness anyway! In fact, God never concerned Himself with my happiness. Happiness is not one of the Fruits of the Spirit. Why are we so worried about our own happiness when God has something better for us?
I want to trust God’s plan because He sees a bigger picture, a picture that I can’t see. More than happiness, I want joy, peace, patience, gentleness, self-control, love and goodness. I want to be faithful to God and my husband, even when I’m not happy.
I want to live in gratitude, thankfulness and joy every day. No matter my husband’s actions or mood. No matter my mood!
I want contentment.
As a whole, we have degraded contentment and elevated happiness. Contentment, however, is the real secret to life, isn’t it?
Living in gratitude. Thankfulness. Selflessness. I know some special people whose peace, joy, hope, patience and contentment remain even when life seems to, well…suck. There’s something unique about them.
They are wiser than the “happy” person.
While in jail, Paul (Bible Paul, not my hubby Paul) said, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” This verse is about contentment – he wrote it while he was IN JAIL! Paul is talking about being content because Christ gives him strength to be content. Christ alone. Not a person. Not a situation.
Some people feel like their marriage is a jail.*
There’s got to be more!
Maybe contentment is found in trusting that God not only has something more planned for us than this moment (no matter how great or horrible the moment is), but that He even has purpose in the moment. Hope and contentment flow from purpose…and life-long purpose cannot be self-seeking or self-fulfilled; it has nothing to do with happiness.
What is our purpose as individuals and then what is our purpose as a couple?
I believe our purpose is to know God, be in a relationship with Him and love Him. We need to communicate with Him through prayer, learn about Him by reading the Bible and talk about Him with others who also know Him. Because He is who we are, this purpose extends to others (who don’t know Him) through our words and actions. This is living purposefully.
This is fulfilling.
THIS completes us.
I desire to sacrifice for and support my husband. I want to do things to show him I love him. I feel special and appreciate it when he tells me I’m pretty or does something thoughtful for me. I am deeply thankful for and respect how hard he works to provide for our family and lead us. There are also times when I feel mad at or frustrated with him. Times when I’m blinded by my own pride and, if I’m only seeking my own mind for advice, these are times when I don’t want to back down and find reconciliation. Times when I’m unhappy.
But I’m more afraid of having a life and marriage that relies on “my way” and continual pursuit of elusive happiness than I am of hurting my throat as I swallow my pride and seek God’s plan over mine.
I am a wife. My husband and I are part of a team. We happen to be happily married, but I believe that’s only a byproduct of the knowledge that our marriage has a purpose that is greater than us; greater than our happiness.
I don’t want a happy marriage. I want more!
*I am NOT talking about abuse. If you are in an abusive relationship of any kind, please seek qualified counsel. This article does not address abusive situations in any way.*