“…and they lived happily ever after.”
Most of the stories you heard in childhood probably ended like that. It’s the stuff of fairy tales with Prince Charming and damsels in distress.
Living happily ever after is also the hope of every couple standing at a wedding altar. Here’s the problem: happiness is an emotion – and a fickle one at that. It comes and goes with nearly every change of circumstances.
When good things happen, we’re happy. When bad things happen, we’re not. That’s not a great formula for success because if there’s one thing you can count on it’s this: your spouse cannot make you happy all the time. No matter how hard they try, sooner or later, they’ll disappoint you.
And that sets the stage for conflict.
We all have a selfish streak. We all have something we want out of our marriages. Harnessed, that desire can be a powerful motivator for your relationship. But take it too far and marriage becomes about me, about what I can get out of it.
The marriage relationship is a reflection of the sanctification process that God works into our lives to accomplish His purposes. We need our rough edges rubbed off, and the Lord uses marriage to do it. If you seek what’s best for we, instead of only me, you’ll become more selfless, more loving – more like Christ.
Resolving conflict usually requires good boundaries, and it often requires tough love … but it always requires selflessness.
Growing more selfless is tough, but it’s the surest way to happiness in marriage.
We’re talking about some great ideas for building a happy marriage on our Focus on the Family Broadcast “Responding Well in Marital Conflict.” Our guest is author and counselor Leslie Vernick.
She’ll help you navigate your conflict so that you and your spouse can communicate better and enjoy a solid, loving relationship that will last a lifetime.
For an in-depth look at this topic, I recommend Leslie’s book How to Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong. We’d like to send it to you for a gift of any amount. Check our website for details. If you can’t afford it, we’ll find a way to get it to you.
We also have caring Christian counselors on staff who would be happy to offer you a free initial consultation. Call us, leave your name and number, and they’ll get back with you just as soon as possible. The number during business hours is 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459).
Before I close, I want to remind you about Hope Restored. If you’re on the brink of divorce, these marriage intensives can go a long way toward facilitating healing between you and your spouse and bringing restoration to your relationship. The number for Hope Restored is 1-866-875-2915, or visit online.