Is it any wonder that the number-one justification for divorce is “I deserve to be happy”? If you put your faith in your spouse to make you happy, it’s only a matter of time until they let you down.
Our whole mindset on happiness is deeply flawed. “I deserve to be happy.” Really? I’m not sure that’s right.
All of life is a gift from the Creator God. We think we have the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” but contrary to what the American propaganda machine says, happiness is not a right. It’s a gift. God doesn’t owe you anything. And neither does your spouse. It’s all a gift.
You have to get this before you get married. Sadly, I didn’t, and it caused me so much pain. Not to mention how it hurt my wife.
If you go into marriage searching for happiness, all you will do is walk out filled with disillusionment. Don’t get me wrong. Marriage is incredible! But it’s not heaven on earth. It’s two broken people coming together to follow God’s calling on their lives.
Let marriage be marriage, and let God be God. Let marriage be for friendship and support and sex and family and re-creation. And let God be the well for your soul. Your source of life.
This doesn’t mean you won’t be happy in marriage. I am. Most of the best memories of my life have my wife attached to them. Our honeymoon in Europe, moving to Portland, starting a church, the birth of our first child, that vacation in Kauai—we did all of that together. And it was fun. If I were to edit her out of my story, it would be flat, anemic and boring.
Here’s what I’ve learned over the last few years. God is the source of my life, not my wife. She’s an amazing gift that I don’t deserve, but she’s not Jesus. It took me a long time to get this. And to be honest, I’m still pounding away on living it out. Hopefully, you’ll get this sooner than I did. Because the beauty of this way of living is that if and when happiness shows up on your doorstep, it’s icing on the cake.
About the Author: John Mark Comer is the lead pastor at Bridgetown; A Jesus Church in Portland, Oregon. He’s also the author of Loveology: God. Love. Marriage. Sex. And the Never-Ending Story of Male and Female and Garden City. See more from him at johnmarkcomer.com.