The Myth of Happily Ever After

I (Richie) was listening, but could hardly believe what I was hearing.  My friend, Janice, was telling me exactly why she believed that God had given her permission to divorce her husband! With great emotion on her face she blurted, “I know it’s not God’s will for me to be miserable the rest of my life!”   No, it’s probably not…

An idea that we’d like to address is the myth that God planned marriage to make us happy. We look for the “right” person who will make us happy.  When we find them we race down the aisle expecting nothing but “happily ever after” to follow our wedding day.  The danger, of course, is that marriage is not always happy.  In fact, most couples wake up at some point and wonder why they ever married the person on the other side of the bed.  Those who subscribe to the “marriage should make me happy” myth are more prone to end their marriage when they go through a season where they are decidedly UNhappy in their marriage.

We need to understand that God did not promise us happiness – he promised us JOY, and there is a significant difference.  Joy is more enduring than happiness.  Joy has nothing to do with momentary circumstances and everything to do with an eternal perspective that shapes our view of current circumstances.  Happiness runs at the first sight of difficulty, but joy can accompany us through even the darkest valleys.

Joy is based on who our Savior is and the enduring truth that He is alive and on His throne. Joy is knowing that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 8:38-39, NIV)  Even if we regret who we gave ourselves to in marriage, joy is knowing that we belong to Someone who is working His plan to bring all things to good.  As much as we would like it to be, marriage isn’t about our happiness.

Instead, God planned that it would make us HOLY!!  This is the relationship where, over time, we are shaped and refined to resemble the character and selflessness of Jesus himself.  In fact, unhappiness experienced in marriage may be a huge blessing in disguise.  Just as pain can tell us that we have a sliver in our toe, marital unhappiness may be pointing to an emotional wound that God wants to heal.  In many cases, running from an uncomfortable relationship may be like lopping off our toe instead of removing the sliver! Yep, the sliver is gone. But we now face the rest of our lives without that toe!

Of course we hope that there will be laughter and joy in every marriage, but it is unrealistic to expect this all the time and possibly not even in our best interests.  This warm marital environment is the fruit of a home built with Jesus at the center.  It is the result of living unselfish lives, cheerfully seeking the good of those around us.  It’s time to trade in the myth of “Happily Ever After” for the truth of JOY ETERNAL!

Timari and Richie

photo credit: Some Guy Photo via photopin cc

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  1. Amy
    4 years ago

    Couldn’t be more honest, right and true. Thank you.