Did God design marriage to make us happy?
Before I answer that, let’s define our terms.
On one end of the spectrum is happiness that’s rooted in pleasure-seeking. Happiness of this sort isn’t necessarily bad, but it does have a shelf-life. It’s like eating ice cream – the dessert is tasty, but the pleasure doesn’t last very long.
On the other end of the spectrum is happiness rooted in meaningful activity, purpose, and deeply-held values that endure. Some would consider that “joy” more than happiness.
Whatever you call it, we want both kinds of happiness. We need both kinds. It’s healthy to enjoy little spikes of happiness that refresh us or that briefly bring a smile to our faces. But we also need happiness that endures because it’s infused with meaning and purpose.
One other thing; our choices are a significant contributor to our level of happiness, much more so than our particular circumstances.
Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott say that about 50 percent of our happiness is biological. We each have a base line of happiness that differs from other people, but that’s natural to us. We all swing a little this way or a little that, but we come back to our set point.
Ten percent of happiness is due to our circumstances. Forty percent of our overall happiness – nearly half – rests on the choices we make. That knowledge can empower you if you recognize the control that you have over shaping your happiness.
So … did God design marriage to make us happy? No, but He did design us so that we could create happy marriages.
The next question is how?
We’ve got answers for you on our broadcast “Making Your Marriage Happy Now and Later” with our guests Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott.
Here’s just one: Try new things.
Doing the same activities on every date night is a great idea as long as you’re both on board. But every once in a while, try something new. In studies, couples who maneuvered through a crazy obstacle course reported higher levels of connection and intimacy than couples who spent an evening relaxing together.
The Parrotts are the founders and co-directors of The Center for Relationship Development at Seattle Pacific University and authors of the book Making Happy: The Art and Science of Happy Marriage.
He’s a clinical psychologist, and she’s a marriage and family therapist. They’ll share a lot of other great ideas that will deepen your happiness as a couple, including their six “happiness boosters” and their tips for avoiding the “joy suckers” that strip happiness from your relationship.
I’d like to send you Les and Leslie’s excellent book, Making Happy: The Art and Science of a Happy Marriage for a gift to our ministry of any amount. (Check our website for details). And thanks to some generous friends of Focus on the Family, your donation amount will be DOUBLED through a matching gift, making twice the impact on families.
Thank you for your prayerful and financial support.