How I let go of Happiness and got Joy
When I got married, I believed it was my husband’s duty to always make me happy. After all, I just got married to the love of my life and we should quickly get on with our “happily ever after”.
You see, I blamed him for all of my unhappiness and I became the proverbial “nagging wife”. The more I became unhappy, the more I put pressure on him. Poor guy! It was too much pressure to put on anyone. I mean, I could not make myself happy and here I was blaming someone else for not making me happy.
Eventually, I gave up on happiness. Or should I say I gave up on getting happiness from my husband. I then discovered a truth that is already in the Bible:
”And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
Phil 4:19 NKJV
God had already made a provision for me. I decided it was time to drop this pursuit of happiness and pick up joy.
Here are some of the things I did and still do:
1. Choose gratitude
Gratitude is easy when you have just got a financial windfall, or when you get an unexpected promotion. However, what about when things don’t go your way? Find gratitude in your challenges and commit to gratitude. Just like any other new habit, consistency is key. Don’t be picky about what to be thankful for, in all things give thanks.
2. Choose to be intentional
When any system lacks order or predictability, there is a gradual decline into a state of disorder. A marriage can descend into a state of disorder when certain things are left to chance. To prevent this, you must be intentional about saying “I love you” regularly, about taking time out (away from the kids and distractions) to be together, about having sex, about building intimacy and about communicating. Believe it or not, joy comes from predictability.
3. Pray together
Praying together builds intimacy; bringing your fears and hopes for the future to God strengthens your connection. One thing I learnt by praying with my husband is that he has his own struggles too and this in turn builds patience in me. Also, when you pray, you are turning the focus of your marriage back to God, you are acknowledging that He is your source of love, joy, resources etc.
4. Be liberal with compliments
I’m not talking about flattery here or being nice only when you want something, this should be about your husband.
When you genuinely compliment your spouse, your spouse’s self-confidence is boosted and makes you feel good too. You show that you appreciate them, that you notice all that they do for you and your spouse feels valued.
5. Be selfless
My marriage had become all about me and what I wanted. My wants were the focus. I didn’t even bother to find out what my husband’s needs were. This is contrary to Philippians 2:4 (TPT) where the Bible commands us to “Abandon every display of selfishness. Possess a greater concern for what matters to others instead of your own interests.”
Find out the needs (and wants) of your husband and go out of your way to fulfil them. You are not in a battle of wills with him and neither is he on earth to fulfil your will (Ouch). Your husband is on earth to fulfil the will of God.
6. Spend time with the Holy Spirit
Joy is a by-product of spending time with the Holy Spirit. Joy is a natural reaction to the work that God is doing in your life. The Holy Spirit literally cultivates character inside of you. This joy is supernatural in nature because you are not really doing anything to create it. You simply spend time with God and He works on and in you. The tendency to always find fault or be critical with your spouse dies naturally.
Your marriage cannot be about your happiness, your marriage is about God (That is a topic for another day). When you realize that God wants to reveal His kingdom through your marriage, you begin to think less about yourself and more about building a God-centric marriage.