Happy Marriage: It’s Not Your Husband’s Job to Make You Happy by Rhonda Stoppe
Happy Marriage: The only way you can experience true joy is by pursuing intimacy with Christ on a daily basis.
Think back to a time when it was downright fun to spend time with your man. How did you enjoy one another back when you were dating?
You didn’t fold your arms, tap your foot, and say, “Okay, I’m here. Now make me happy.” No, more than likely, you planned to have a good time simply because you were happy to be together with your love.
With all the distractions life throws at you each day, you have to decide daily to enjoy your spouse. And when you determine each day to celebrate the time you spend with your husband, you have taken an important step toward making your marriage a delight.
I remember a brief conversation my parents had when I was 17 years old. My father, who had the day off and was working in the garage, came into the house and said to my mother, “Hey, I need to run to the store to buy a ladder. Wanna come?” Without even looking up from washing the dishes, my mom replied, “Why would I want to go with you to buy a ladder? That’s not fun.”
I watched my dad’s face fall and shoulders shrug as he walked back out to the garage. My mom was completely oblivious to how her response had dashed my father’s hopes for a fun trip to the store. However, the incident made an indelible impression on me.
When you are looking for ways to enjoy your husband, even running the simplest of errands together can provide an opportunity for some fun. When our kids were young, Steve and I would wait until the little ones had gone to bed, and then leaving them in the care of their older sister, we would sneak off to a 24-hour home improvement store. Steve was doing yet another remodel of our home, so there were frequent purchases to be made. This meant we had little money to spend on dates and less time than usual for Steve to devote me.
So I had a choice to make. I could have insisted Steve do all the shopping himself and complained that he never had money or time to spend with me. Or I could go with him to the home improvement store and find ways to enjoy an otherwise arduous task. Remembering how my mother missed an opportunity to have fun with my dad, I chose to go with Steve.
Even now I am smiling as I remember those late-night runs. We were surprised to discover the store played some pretty amazing music late at night. Steve and I actually danced in the aisles when our favorite ‘70s songs played.
When Momma Ain’t Happy
No matter how much you try to plan time to enjoy one another, I know there are seasons in marriage when there is so much work to do that it seems impossible to make time for each other.
When our children were young, there were days when I was simply exhausted. Our youngest daughter, Kayla, was plagued with ear infections that would inevitably flare up in the middle of the night. And after staying up through the night to comfort her, I could not go back to bed because our 2-year-old son would wake up and need my attention. Have you had similar experiences?
I remember how difficult those days of raising little ones were. I recall how Steve would attempt to bring a jovial atmosphere into our home only to have one of the kids spill their milk at the table, causing more work for me, as I so rudely chided. Even as my harsh words were leaving my lips, I would immediately regret them. My poor husband didn’t stand a chance with my hormonally imbalanced, sleep-deprived disposition.
Are you the mom of little ones? Or maybe you have teenagers in your home who are skilled at working Mom and Dad into an argument so they can get their way. Raising kids is both hard and wonderful—exhausting and exhilarating.
In my own experience, when I allowed my circumstances to dictate my joy, my family was destined to ride with me on the roller coaster of my emotions. I did not become a joyful wife and mom until I learned the importance of spending time in prayer and daily Bible study. In other words, I needed to look to God. I could not expect Steve to give me a life free from difficulty so I would be happy. I could not ask him to do for me what only God can do.
The only way you can experience true joy—no matter what your circumstances—is by pursuing intimacy with Christ on a daily basis. As you determine to seek joy in your relationship with Him, you will discover that your happiness comes not from how well your day turns out, but from Jesus Himself.
As a young mom, when I determined to be daily cleansed by “the washing of water by the word” (Ephesians 5:26), I came to know a deep, abiding joy within my heart—regardless of how the day unfolded. When you determine to know Christ through the pages of Scripture, then God’s peace, wisdom, and joy will spill out of your life and into your home.
You may be tempted to believe you are too busy to practice the spiritual disciplines required to be a happy wife. Don’t fall for that kind of thinking—don’t allow the urgent to take priority over the essential.
While kids and their needs often present a sort of urgency, what they really need is a mom filled with God’s wisdom and joy. Take this advice from an older woman: The season during which your kids need you will be over before you know it. Your husband, by contrast, needs you for a lifetime. Devote yourself to becoming a happy wife, and you will build a marriage both you and your husband will enjoy for the rest of your lives.
This article by Rhonda Stoppe first appeared at Family Life Today. Excerpts taken from Rhonda’s book: If My Husband Would Change, I’d Be Happy. Copyright © 2015 by Rhonda Stoppe. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon, 97402. Used with permission.
LISTEN: On FamilyLife Today®, Rhonda Stoppe shares what she learned the hard way: A happy marriage doesn’t stem from how well our husbands meet our expectations, but how well we know God.