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Happy or Holy?

By:  Donna Martin

A popular concept among Christian marriage counselors is the saying, “Marriage is intended to make us more holy than more happy.”  Happy or holy, does there have to be a choice in marriage?  I think not.  Both are good qualities for a marriage.  Of course God wants us to become more holy.  His purpose in creating us was to have a relationship with us and to help us to become more like Him.  As people work through struggles in their marriages, they often find that the problem is not with their spouse, but that the problem in the marriage is because of the sin in their own life.  Our spouses know us better than anyone.  Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”  Husbands and wives continually “sharpen” each other throughout their lives together. 

However, doing what you can to make your spouse happy or wanting your spouse to make you happy is not a bad thing.  When you love someone, you want to make them happy.  A man was complaining that his young wife told him she wanted him to make her happy.  He felt that she was wrong for wanting to get her happiness from him.  While it is true that God is all that we need and true fulfillment in life comes from Him, I think maybe this man should have listened to what his wife was telling him.  All marriage is not fun and games, and of course there will be times when neither the husband nor the wife is happy;  but over the course of a life time I would hope that one would look back on their marriage and cherish the happy times that they experienced through life.

Jesus compared marriage to his relationship with the church.  He told men to love their wives as they loved themselves.  I think he wanted husbands and wives to strive to make each other happy.  Life is not always happy.  Throughout my life there have been tragedies, sickness, and death.  During these times I was not “happy”, but in my heart there was peace and joy because I knew that God was with me and that he would never leave me.

It has been the same in marriage.  When I think back over our marriage there have been times when we were not happy with each other.  There have been arguments, disagreements, and all kinds of stressful situations.  But during those times I knew that Mike loved me.  I knew he would continue to love me and that he was committed to our marriage.  I knew that he would never leave me.  And even though I might not be “happy” at the moment, in my heart my love for him never ended and his love for me never ended.  All of the little things that we had done throughout our marriage to make each other happy helped to sustain us through the hard times.

So, of course as believers, we want to strive to become more holy, and God will use situations in our marriage to change us to become more like Him.  But God wants his children to be happy.  He created marriage and he wants us to enjoy our life with our spouse.  So go ahead and do what you can to make your spouse happy.  You will both be glad you did.

The Martins currently present “Happy Together” Marriage Enrichment Events for churches and organizations.  To schedule an event call Michael at 940-735-1515. They are certified “Prepare/Enrich” Facilitators and are available to work with couples on an individual basis using the “Prepare/Enrich Assessment.”  They publish a weekly “Happy Together” Blog about family and marriage issues.  You can order copies of their new books Dancing With Death and 366 Tidbits We Have Learned in 14,610 Days of Marriage, read, and subscribe to their “Happy Together” Blog by logging onto the Martin’s website at


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