The change in you, changes your marriage.
How do you define the emotion of being happy? For many people, happiness means different things entirely. However, I think most of us would agree, that if someone had a winning lotto ticket pay off at a million dollars or more, that person would be very happy. If someone had a diagnosis of terminal cancer but later their Doctor told them there is no longer a trace of cancer based on their last test, we can all agree that person would be very happy. For many people however, simply having a lack of tension, drama or arguing in their relationships, that would make them very happy. Just having the sun shine and waking up feeling good makes other people happy. What seems right to one person is not always right to another.
So, how do we define a “happy” marriage? What some people expect in marriage and or a marriage partner is not what someone else might be happy with. When some good friends of mine from high school got married, I was shocked that one demanded dinner be on the table at 5 PM, or else! I was shocked. I had not seen that side of my friend. For my other friend, his wife had no problem with yelling and screaming at her husband even if I was there, or over something small like a toothpaste cap was not put on the tube after using it. I was surprised people could live that way. Based on just that small sampling of behavior from my high school friends, it’s no wonder there are so many divorces. Those early days in their marriages certainly were not happy, and it was hard to be around that environment as a third party.
Divorce happens over 50% of the time whether couples were married in a church, chapel or in the backyard. These statistics are the same for those who claim to be Christians. The problem is that many who call themselves Christians are not real followers of Christ. Oh, for sure, there are some very factual issues that bring about divorce even for real Christians, but most of marriages have a wrong foundation from the start. If you build a home on a bad foundation like sand, it will collapse. Let me give an example of what I’m saying. Some women look forward to “their” wedding, and heaven forbid if everything is not perfect to fulfill their special day. Sometimes we see mothers of the bride letting the groom or others know, “this is my daughter’s special day” and you better not mess it up! When the wedding day becomes the major focus and priority for one person, as it is their day, while it might be considered tradition, it can set a bad foundation for the marriage andcreated unnecessary tension. When things go wrong despite weeks and months of planning, this can cause drama in the relationship leading to a bad foundation from the very start!
I have done a lot of pre-marriage counseling over the years, as well as counseling for people who had been married for varying lengths of time. I was often surprised at what was happening in some of these marriages, because the couple seemed so happy at the onset. Most people go into the marriage with thoughts of sharing their life with someone they feel meets their dreams and expectations, then reality sets in. Issues from the past such as addictions, financial problems, health issues, relatives, friends, neighbors, work or other external factors may exist. Problems are a part of life and people, like tea bags, can get in hot water. All at once you find out what is in the tea bag. Thoughts and feelings can run rampant and words can be said, or certain looks, and suddenly the heart is affected, and the honeymoon may be over. Marriages by those who profess to be “Christian” have the same divorce rate as others at over 50% divorced. Many people have told me over the years that “everyone argues” and “making up after having a disagreement brings you closer” however I’m not sure I am convinced of this.
For a marriage then to be happy, takes two people, who want their lives as individuals to be godly and for their marriage to reflect holiness and godliness. The best time for that to start is before the wedding when both individuals decide they want to dedicate their lives and their marriage unto God. The wedding then is not about anyone’s “special day” as much as it is about walking with God during our time here on earth. Having a godly marriage takes both people putting God first in their lives and trying earnestly to be the godly husband or wife God intends. It is about each person doing what God calls them to do even if the other is not doing their part. It is praying for the other person and with them. It is talking about the things of God as a way of life and wanting God’s will be done in and through them, not their will. It is communicating with their spouse to see if there are things that they need to be aware of to make their spouse happy.
Sometimes things may seem obvious to you individually but there are times where the other person does not see it. Treat the other person with unconditional love and respect their thoughts, words, and feelings, even if it is not your own way. Try to come back to what the bible says (in 2 or more scriptures) and seek that be a solid foundation for what you both agree on. God’s word is not meant to be a tool to force the other person into submission, but a guide for happiness, now and forever. When we do things God’s way, we are blessed because we grow to understand His ways and His thoughts, and that blesses us! Things will go wrong in this life on earth and we come to know that some things are because of Satan and his demons, and other things happen because of sinful people being driven by their flesh nature. Sometimes things happen just because it is the consequences of sin in our own lives. During all the chaos, godly people keep their eyes on Jesus and their eyes on the prize – heaven is our home and we need to not give up or give in to the things or people of this world that will distract us from that heavenly call.
For those who have opened their hearts and lives to Jesus Christ, they receive a new spiritual nature. We are all born of the flesh and if any person be in Christ, they are a new creation, and God resides in them. God in them and them in God. Those abiding and residing in Christ are the true definition of Christians. Those who visit California are not Californians, but only those who reside in California. People going to church or knowing about God does not mean they are residing in Christ. Those who are born again and alive spiritually become holy. They accept Jesus as their Savior and their Lord and Master. They are set apart for God and they want to grow spiritually and no longer live according to their old flesh nature. They want God’s blessings in their lives. The word “blessed” in the original language is the same word as “happy”. God wants His people to be happy and have happy marriages! We as the children of God look beyond this world to eternity and our inheritance, because of Christ. We look to spiritual things rather than the temporal things and we see and experience God’s blessings.
Those who are seeking to know and do God’s will, find a resource in their lives that they never knew before being born again. There is a peace that is beyond circumstances and situations. There is a joy despite being up to your ankles in alligators, and not knowing when things will get better. It is loving your spouse and looking at them as someone who Christ died for and know God loves them with no strings attached. It is you loving God despite things not being perfect according to your understanding or wishes and loving your spouse and others despite them not loving you back or meeting your needs. You learn contentment in all circumstances and don’t allow complaining or criticalness to creep in
There is a work of God’s Spirit that goes on in a family where one person seeks to be godly, and they do right and godly things despite what the others do or don’t do. The believing spouse learns that God has given those who follow Him both power and authority in the spiritual dimension. They start warring against the forces of hell that would want to continue to keep their spouse blinded to the reality of God’s love and God’s plan for them and their family. They realize that putting pressure on their spouse to go to church is not the answer, but that their spouse should see and know there is a difference in their life. It may be that both people do not have a priority of God being in their life and their marriage, but the spouse that does, will do the right things and God will reward them.
God gives all mankind a free choice; each person has a choice of whether they want a godly and holy life and marriage, or whether they want to live for themselves and the devil. There is no middle ground. Either you have a personal relationship with God or you don’t. Knowing about God in your head, or being pious, or devout, or going to religious services is not personal. It’s at that point in your life that you realize you are a sinner and you are walking apart from God and you turn to Jesus as the one who died for your sins and the sins of all mankind, and you ask Him to forgive you, and to come into your life and help you to know Him. It’s opening your heart to read the bible and wanting God to speak to you and draw you unto Himself. It’s talking to Him from the depths of your heart, believing He is there for you and knows you better than you know yourself. Once we experience a personal relationship with God, our lives change, and we cannot do the things we once did.
The bible tells us we cannot continue in the works of the flesh and expect to inherit the kingdom of God. Things like living together or having sex outside of a marriage relationship, is outlined as a work of the flesh. People who claim to follow Christ must not continue in the works of the flesh. People can get married in a “church” or by a minister, and exchange vows “till death do them part” but it has nothing to do with a personal relationship with God or wanting God’s will to be done in their marriage. Many people ask religious leaders to officiate at their weddings out of custom or thinking it conveys God’s blessing, but it does not. Those who say they are ministers or servants of Christ are to do things His way, not the way of the world. Both people getting married should be able to say with a sincere heart that they want to be godly and want their marriage to be godly as marriage is an example of Christ and the church.
God desires to bless the marriage union. It’s never too late to have a truly happy marriage. I don’t mean just a good marriage, I mean one that is beyond this world. When two people die to their flesh and come alive in the spirit, they do not allow fleshly thoughts, feelings, or words to dictate their lives. Having a happy marriage is attainable, and it is up to you to seek God for your life and your marriage. He will change things that are not right or change your attitude towards it.
Communicate with your spouse. Keep the main thing, the main thing! Keep a sense of humor and can laugh at yourself and situations without getting too uptight or serious. Don’t sweat the trivial things and most things are trivial things. Reinforce your love by opening doors, carrying things, pushing the cart, getting flowers or a card. Think the best and look to God for them, in thought, word, and actions. Speak to them and about them with kind, positive words. Consider, they are made in God’s image and He has entrusted them to you to watch over. Do you intercede for them in the spiritual realm when you are apart from them?
When you do your part to be a holy, godly person, you sense the presence and blessings of God. The change in you, changes how you view and act in your marriage. God blesses those who step out in faith seeking Him and asking Him to manifest Himself in their lives and their marriage! Having a “happy” marriage is when you invite God to be the Lord of your life and your lives together. He blesses those who diligently seek Him!