So many of us, most really, OK all of us go into marriage thinking it will be the source of our happiness, and if not the source, we certainly think marriage will make us happy. First mistake.
Not only will marriage not MAKE us happy, every marriage - even super couple marriages - go through seasons of unhappiness. Happiness is elusive. It is not permanent. We can never find happiness with a broken spouse. And since we are all broken...
Since I've been in the marriage-saving business I've noticed a pattern: many married people want to be single and many single people want to be married. Each seems to think they will "find" happiness once they attain the other state. They will not. Once they get to the other side, the side they thought they wanted, they experience all the negatives of that state. "I wanted to be married but I didn't want someone who spoke to me like that when he/she was in a bad mood." "I wanted to be divorced/single but I hate not having someone to hang out with." "I hate not getting to see my children seven days a week" and so on. Happiness eludes you yet again...and it always will.
Seek holiness instead.
Marriage is a sacrifice. That means it's a constant state of giving something up, having unmet needs (unmet by your spouse, at least) and always working for something better. Marriage is not static, it is dynamic - always changing.
As I said in a recent post, the word sacrifice comes from the Greek words sacra which means "holy" and ficia which means "to make." Your marriage is designed to make you holy as we are to be holy unto the Lord. We want to be able to present ourselves to God as perfected as we possibly can and, for many of us, marriage is the vehicle to get us there.
I don't like when my spouse is ugly to me. He doesn't like when I scream. Ours is not a perfect marriage. We sacrifice daily in order "to love" one another (the verb). But through it all we learn patience, forgiveness, perseverance and most importantly, we learn to fix our gaze on Christ instead. The good news? When we are both facing and walking closer to God, we are necessarily drawing closer to each other.
There is so much more I’d like to share about this topic but I’d likely have to write a book to do so. Just know this: your tears and unhappiness are not in vain. God will use them to purify you, you just need to offer them up “Lord, I am unhappy in my marriage. It is not what I wanted. I surrender my marriage to you. I surrender the pain to you. Take it and use it where it is needed most: for my spouse’s salvation, for my co-worker’s healing, to get souls in heaven, anywhere YOU want, Lord. Jesus, I trust in You.
Once you give your pain a purpose it becomes just a bit less painful and you become that much holier and, dare I say, the happiness follows, because your happiness is no longer in your marriage or your circumstances but in the Lord.
Want to learn more? I’d be honored to guide you on this path. It’s the job God gave me to do. You don't have to go it alone. Let me walk alongside and guide you. Your marriage is worth fighting for.