All of us, singles and marrieds – have many of the same lessons to learn in our journey with Christ. We are not really that different! So let’s link arms and walk this road together, praying for, loving, and encouraging one another. Today’s post is from two married sisters in Christ who have DIFFICULT marriages but who entered marriage thinking that their husbands were supposed to “make them happy.” May their lightbulb moments and the things God has shown them much later in life inspire you to embrace these lessons now, my precious sisters! I believe that if we are willing to learn from others’ mistakes, we may be spared much pain ourselves. Please don’t marry a man with the expectation that it is his job to make you happy. Nothing in this world can “make us” be happy. Even really good things and wonderful people. (It is fine to have a desire for marriage, children, and good things. But this desire cannot be our primary focus. I hope that makes sense.) Real contentment, peace, purpose, joy, and security are only found in Christ alone! It is an inside job.
All I can say about that is that until I came to your site and started digging into everything—- and after identifying a lot of my idols of wanting to feel loved, attention, etc. it all started boiling down to one big idol of happiness—– Happiness was the mother Idol—-with a bunch of a little idols attached to it, which were what I believed I needed in order to accomplish my ultimate idol of happiness in life!
So Happiness was #1—— and I believed that if my husband gave me all his attention, if he loved me how I wanted him to, if I got to have the sun shining outside all the time, if I didn’t have to ever have my period again, if I got to be a stay at home mom, if I got everything I EVER WANTED—– Then I could have what I wanted most—to be HAPPY!!!
I realized that I had spent 29 years of the precious life God gave me on trying to be happy!
I looked for happiness in all the wrong places! I placed it as #1, and then looked to a bunch of little idols to attain the ultimate idol, all resulting in NEVER being happy! I imagined if I was married, loved, had a house, could stay home and raise my son, and — make — my son behave and teach him about God and eat healthy and just be a wife and mom—then I would be happy!!!!! I honestly even thought that if I just did whatever God says to do in the Bible, then I would be happy. I seriously wanted to be happy more than I wanted ANYTHING else in this life. (I actually wrote about it here lol if you are interested ???? http://satisfiedwife.com/why-am-i-never-happy/)
For the first time, I realized that I did not receive any joy, happiness or contentment from ANYTHING the LORD HAD GRACIOUSLY GIVEN ME IN THIS LIFE. No – I ONLY found TRUE JOY IN ABIDING IN CHRIST AND SEEING HIS BEAUTIFUL FACE!!!!!!
That was like the best eye opener God ever gave me through April’s blog because I was seriously miserable for a long time. I realized that I didn’t have to wait for all these other things to happen in order to be happy—plus I found out that happiness is about a passing moment. But Joy — REAL JOY— is from the Spirit of God. That is what I want! Not some passing happiness.That’s why I was so excited about learning about contentment because I WAS FREED FROM THAT IDOL OF HAPPINESS AND FOUND SO MUCH JOY IN GOD ALONE!!!!!!!!!
It was a MAJOR stepping stone for me! ???? To God alone be the Glory!!!!
I read a line in one of Laura Doyle’s books, “I wasn’t happy and I thought it was my husband’s job to make me happy, I don’t know where I got that idea from…but I did.” This jumped out at me. I hear that type of statement from so many authors.
Early on in my journey, April’s posts helped me realize what wrong thinking that was. The book “Boundries” by Dr’s Cloud and Townsend solidified that truth as well. I then went back in time mentally and looked at my childhood trying to figure out why I thought that way. I chalked it up to my parents divorce at 12 years of age and my not trusting anyone after I felt lied to by them. But when I met my husband, he said he just wanted to make me happy. I was more than willing to let him. He wanted to make me happy, and I wanted to be happy. He was happy if I was happy. So, if I wasn’t happy, he wasn’t doing what he promised. Sounded like a good partnership deal… sign me up! However, I learned that it was such a crock and so unfair to my husband. I see that now.
We, as women need to find our own happiness.
What our men do for us is really just icing on the cake. I made my husband live out an impossible task. Making me happy was a sucking black hole of need where I wanted continuously more and more from him. No one person can do that. Only God can fill that hole – and fill us with His everlasting JOY which is so much greater then temporary earthly happiness.
My husband spent 18 years bending over backwards to try to make me happy, but he never seemed to be able to reach success. It was never enough, it wasn’t perfect, that was yesterday, what do you have for me today? Ugh. I’m so ashamed at myself. Ladies, it is OUR OWN job to be content in Christ! We need to understand this very important lesson or we will run everyone we know into the ground with exhaustion, defeat and hopelessness. That is what makes us look like shrews, hard to please, and grumpy, screaming mimis. If we don’t start looking to God to fill that need in us and find joy in what we have already, then we are chasing the wind, like Solomon describes in Ecclesiastes.
It is so much better to find joy in what God gives us already. The sunshine, beautiful flowers, the gifts of our relationships, a job, health, friends, sleep, etc. These are things we take for granted, but they are gifts nonetheless. Why do we think we need more? Why would God even try to bless us with more when we aren’t even grateful for what He has already given to us?
It was the lowest point in my life, the day my husband asked me for a divorce. I thought he was evil that day. I know now, that God was helping him defend a boundary that I was stomping all over. My husband had nothing left to give. My happiness was now my own to find. He was done trying. He told me that no man could make me happy. He was so right. I had sucked the life out of him. He was drained.
I thought he had lost his mind that day, this crazy talk coming out of his mouth. But, it turned out to be the most loving thing he could have ever done. It set me on the path to find the truth, answers and most of all, God. I found how I can make my own happiness and start appreciating the gifts in my life. I lost some pretty important gifts because of my diva attitude. Some, like my friends, parents and to a degree, my kids’respect, I am thankful to have been able to reclaim through my new attitude and love for God. My husband, marriage and burnt-bridge relationships… those are still up in the air, to be determined.
I am so thankful to God for disciplining me with love. He alone has the fortitude to stand up to me, my sin, and my wrong thinking without fear of the backlash from me. He is perfect in all of His ways. And He wants us to learn how to stand up to sin without fear as well. Jesus taught us that. It is our job, as adults, to be responsible for our own emotions and spiritual well-being and to not saddle that responsibility on anyone else. God helps us with it, but in the end, it is our choice.
All my love to my sisters, and apologies to my brothers who have tried so hard to make us happy.
For more of the spiritual lightbulb moments LMSdaily115 and Amanda have had, please search www.peacefulwife.com for The Satisfied Wife, WorthyofLove, and LMS.