August 10, 2023
by Michael Ledner
Notice, I didn’t say how to have a happy marriage. A happy marriage depends on two people. I just happen to have a happy marriage because I have an amazing wife and we are both committed to the Jesus and to each other (and I’m writing this on our Anniversary Day - 36 years!). But to be a happy spouse simply takes two choices. I feel obligated to pass on the main lessons I’ve learned to be a happy spouse. Here are the two choices that I believe will be helpful:
CHOICE #1 - COMMITMENT: you already made the choice on your wedding day to commit, to love her/him for better or for worse. Now, every day, you get to choose to live out your vow. There are two levels of happiness: getting what you think you want, and “getting it” - learning the life lessons that marriage affords. It’s because I choose the latter, that I am happy, because my happiness does not depend on how my spouse treats me or responds to me. I am happy to "get-to" fulfill my commitment to Jesus and to my wife. In pursuing this higher level of happiness, I have found that God often "throws in" the lower level. As C.S. Lewis said, “Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you will get neither.”
CHOICE #2 - PERSPECTIVE: If I’m in a conflict with my spouse, I get a clearer perspective on the situation and on her when I go to Jesus and ask Him, “How do you see my wife, Your precious daughter, right now?,” Seeing her from Jesus’ perspective, from the One Who died for her, the One Who intercedes for her, the One Who sees her as His precious one, changes my attitude and softens my heart to be a better student and lover. Sometimes He’ll say, “How do you want Me to treat you when you’re doing something irritating to Me? Now, treat her the same way you’d want Me to treat you.”
So, follow through on your commitment, and see your spouse from Jesus’ perspective, and not only will you be a happy spouse, but He’ll probably “throw in” a happy marriage.
BONUS TOOLS: Working through conflicts.
Of course there are times where you must talk things out, and perhaps get outside help to work thru conflicts, but when the offense is minor or your “heated discussion” just gets too complicated, these 2 tools may help:
These two tools are much better than "burying it" with resentment, or raising voices. By the way, good listening (which is one of the greatest way to love your spouse) will surely minimize the do-overs and clean slate times.
I pray that you will be a happy spouse and that you'll even have a happy marriage, like ours!