I Wanted A Happy Marriage

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I never knew that happiness mattered all that much in marriage.

It wasn’t like I planned on marrying someone who didn’t make me happy but I never thought it was that important, well, not all that important to God at least.

Sure I wanted to have a happy marriage, who doesn’t?

But in my little Christian girl mind, I didn’t know that it was ok to want to be happy.

I’ve been in plenty of bible study groups where you read books and go through curriculum on marriage and 0% of the ones I  have done ever talked about happiness. Typically chapters and discussions centered on topics like submission, purity, honest communication and what not, but never happiness.

Happiness seemed shallow, like it was a deterrent from the work of holiness that happens in marriage.

One day while we were living in China, I sat in an oversize chair, curled up with a blanket, talking over Skype with an amazing woman who has counseled me through this past year. She said that I seemed genuinely happy, that Justin and I seemed genuinely happy in our marriage.

What was she getting at? Was my marriage even unhealthier that I realized? I wasn’t sure of what to make of an observation like that.

Then she went on saying ‘You both seem happy together these days. That’s a good thing.’

Marriage has a not-so-subtle way of doing some serious restructuring and reordering in your life that you may not have planned on or even known needed to be done.

What I found was that happiness isn’t a deterrent from the work of holiness that will be accomplished in marriage.

Happiness is what makes those the tougher moments of growth, change, and seasons of intense refinement still somehow sweet.

Moments of happiness, no matter how small, help you remember all the reasons you fell in love in the first place and why it’s completely worth it.

Look for those little moments of happiness and pay attention to them. Soak them in, eat them up, cherish and celebrate them.

Maybe it’s when he walks through the door after work and you didn’t realize just how excited you were to see him.

Maybe it’s when you go to dinner and talk for hours, losing track of time and realize they’re trying to close down the restaurant for the night so you better leave.

Or maybe it’s when, even after harder days, you lay down next to him at night and thank God just to be with him right then.

I don’t know a God who is so concerned with making me holy in marriage that he doesn’t allow for tiny moments where I feel so happy  I could cry just because I love the man he gave me so deeply.

I know a God who loves me so infinitely that even as he’s growing and changing me, he wants me to stop long enough to feel that giggly happiness the bubbles up when my husband does something stupid just to make me laugh or sneaks up behind me and kisses me on the cheek.