Marital Bliss and the Pursuit of Happiness

marriage pic

Smiles, people, smiles!  Just one more shot.

Do you remember your wedding day?  Smiling so much, the muscles on your face hurt?  What does that tell us?  WE DON’T SMILE ENOUGH!!

Smile, it’s the wedding season; and therefore, the anniversary season!  Our church puts out a monthly calendar with all the birthdays and anniversaries for the month.  For the month of June alone, we have 46 couples celebrating wedding anniversaries!

Today would have been my 36th wedding anniversary, if Kevin, my late husband, were still alive.

In 10 days, on June 28, Lane and I will celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary!  Woo-hoo!  God is good!

I wonder if all these couples celebrating their anniversaries would say they have lived in “marital bliss” all those years.  I can’t say that I did or am now.  (Sorry, Lane!)  Marriage is hard work and not always pretty.  Just keepin’ it real.

Bliss, by the way, is defined in Webster’s dictionary as “complete happiness.”  I went into my first marriage believing we would live “blissfully ever after” or “happily ever after.”  When I discovered I wasn’t “happy” all the time, it was easy to blame my husband.

He’s not meeting MY needs.

How could he be so selfish?

I don’t feel loved.

How could he have done that to me?

I felt justified in expressing these feelings and expected him to meet ALL my needs.  Isn’t that what marriage is all about?  You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours?  If you do your part, I’ll love you and stick with you?

But, if you mess up, disappoint me, then maybe I don’t have to love you.  Maybe I can just walk away.

At some point, maybe at year 20 or so (sad to say), I heard a sermon that woke me up to what marriage is really about.  This person I married is not suppose to make me happy. 

SAY WHAT?!

That’s right.  We are partners in life’s journey.  Happiness may be a by-product of doing life together, but it is not the goal.  Did you hear that?  Maybe I should say it again, because it took me a long time to get it.

Happiness may be a by-product of doing life together, but it is not the goal.

We are meant to love each other through thick and thin (stay committed), to encourage one another, build each other up and put his/her needs above our own.

And furthermore, no one person can make you completely happy.  There will be moments, maybe even hours, days or weeks of bliss.  But complete happiness or bliss cannot be sustained on this earth.

Aww, man!  Really?  Say it isn’t so!

Yep, it’s not possible.

But, if we simply make it our goal to make others happy, give others joy and love, we may find more of our own moments of happiness, bliss.  (That deserves an “AMEN!” Just sayin’.)

And who can make US truly happy, blissful?  Jesus Christ, our perfect bridegroom.  In Him, we find joy, contentment, bliss.  “For in him we live and move and have our being….We are his offspring.”  Acts 17:28.

“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”  Philippians 2:2-3

Only Jesus can satisfy the deep cry of our hearts to be loved unconditionally and perfectly.  And that empowers us to give joy, love, and “happy” to others!

If you are disappointed in your marriage, run to the source of your happiness, Jesus, and focus on loving your spouse through the power and presence of Jesus.  Make Jesus your number one!

Note:  There are times when the marital conflict is too much to handle without God-given council.  Do not hesitate, if needed, to seek help from professional counselors and wise mentors who understand your faith journey.  I had to in my first marriage.  It’s nothing to be ashamed of.

I regret spending so much of my first marriage seeking my happiness, the elusive bliss, rather than allowing Jesus to be my perfect bridegroom.  He is the perfect lover of my soul! And out of His perfect love, I can love my spouse, Lane, and make his life happier.

Now, go in the power of His perfect love, and make your spouse’s day “happy!” Or your child…..Or your friend……Or your mother…..or your coworker……or your neighbor……

Here’s a “happy” thought for my husband:-).  Happy early Anniversary to my dear hubby, Lane!  Thank you for 4 wonderful years of doing life together with a lot of marital bliss sprinkled in there!!  You have given me much to be “happy” about, and I love doing life with you:-).

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Dear Heavenly Father,

I confess I do not do this “marriage thing” perfectly.  Sometimes I’m selfish.  Sometimes I expect my husband to “make” me happy instead of seeking my contentment and joy in You.  I ask you to forgive me and teach me to love my spouse the way you love me, unconditionally, compassionately and with much grace.  Thank you for forgiving my transgressions and covering my sin.

Today, I bring before you my “brothers and sisters” who are struggling to find happiness in their marriage.  There may be brokenness in their relationship that needs your healing touch.  Bring healing where they need healing.  Give them your power to love and forgive, power to extend grace and compassion.  Draw them to your unconditional love.  May they seek first your kingdom and your righteousness, so that they may have all you want for them. And Lord, give them a bit of “bliss” today!

In Jesus’ name, Amen.  Your daughter, Karen Renae

 

 

5 thoughts on “Marital Bliss and the Pursuit of Happiness

  1. oh Karen, that is just so encouraging! Thanks for sharing!! In sickness or health, it is good to know that giving Christ’s love to our mate with nothing expected in return, will allow them to receive a bit of the bliss you are talking about! Jim and I have celebrated 38 years together and I can’t wait to see his hand move mightily in the last of our years to come. I need to fill you in!! 😉 God is so gooooood!! xxoo Barb Bone

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  2. Loved your words, Sister! Fifty- one years and counting. All kinds of times of marital bliss and then some working through things. But always God changed us by the power of His Holy Spirit when we prayed together and obeyed scripture. Matthew 6:33 Seeking first His Kingdom and His Righteousness, and ALL these things He gave us. Just put our testimony on my facebook. Praying someone will trust God because of it. Love to you, Karen Renae. You are full of joy!

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  3. I always look forward to your email messages You speak such truth and with so much wisdom, love and encouragement. Marriage can be hard but yet such a glorious thing. Living together and doing life with God in control. It is definitely the times of selfishness and expectation for our own wants and desires that makes for the difficulties in marriage. Sometimes we rationalize those thoughts and make them ALMOST believable. Thankfully through prayer, submission, and obedience God steps in and straightens out our thoughts and brings us back to HIm and how to love our spouse.
    Congratulations to you and Lane.May you have a blessed day celebrating.

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