Is there a secret to a happy marriage?
That’s a common question. It’s also a tough one.
On the one hand, who doesn’t want a happy marriage? Everyone walks down the aisle believing they’re committing themselves to a spouse who will fill their life with joy and fulfillment. On the other hand, when couples reach out to Focus on the Family, many are struggling because their marriage isn’t making them as happy as they thought it would.
There’s also this: other than parenting, nothing requires us to live selflessly and with a servant’s heart quite like marriage.
Sacrifice and humility seem counterintuitive, but they’re actually the secret to the happiness couples are looking for. Happiness is a moving target. There will always be seasons in a marriage – moments, days, weeks, or months – where you won’t feel happy. It’s in those times when your perspective about happiness and marriage matters most.
As the title of a book I wrote implies, Marriage Done Rightwill create marital happiness – just not in the way couples assume. That’s because you don’t create a “happy marriage,” you create a strong marriage centered in Christ, and happiness is the result.
That’s not mere semantics. I recently discussed this idea with author Debra Fileta, who describes a triangle theory of marriage. Picture a triangle with a husband and wife at each corner of the base, and God at its peak. As spouses individually grow closer to God, grow closer to each other as well.
Marriages are not happy when you are greater than me, or when I am greater than you. Marriages are happy when “we” is greater than “me.”
Debra Fileta is a professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She’s also written a book titled Choosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start with We>Me. We’re discussing it on our Focus on the Family Broadcast “Embracing the Beautiful Mess of Your Marriage.”Listen on your local radio station, online, oniTunes, via Podcast, on our free phone app, or watch the full program on our YouTubechannel.
With humorous stories and a counselor’s wisdom and heart, Debra explains how marriage requires unconditional love and sacrifice and casts a beautiful vision for a strong marriage.
Before I close, I’d like to extend an invitation for you to become a special partner with us through our monthly “Friends of Focus on the Family”program.When you do, I’ll send you a copy of Debra’s book Choosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start with We>Meas a way of saying thank you for touching others with the love of Christ. To make your pledge, or for more information, visit our websiteor call 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459).
Monthly gifts sustain us and allow us to ride out the summermonths when things get a bit tight financially. If you’re not in a spot to give monthly, a one-time gift is very much appreciated. We’re grateful for any amount you can donate.
One last thing: take a few moments to try our free marriage assessmentonline tool. It will help you quickly determine what’s working well in your relationship and areas where you may need some improvement.