Ask anyone who’s been married for over 25 years and they’ll tell you that marriage is rewarding, but it’s not always easy. Over the years we deal with a number of issues that take their toll on us. Difficult in-laws, financial stress, sick children, renovations, and unemployment are just a few of the things that can drag us down, and often they do.
Two of the biggest problems that young couples face are these:
1) Our expectations are off
2) We’re expecting our spouse to make us happy
Our financial expectations were sky high when Michael and I got married. He was earning $7.00/hour and I was earning less. We bought a handy man’s special assuming that we could fix up the old character home, but once I lost my job, we were barely getting by on his wage alone.
“Don’t Pay a Cent” events were appealing to us. I could have a house full of furniture and not pay a cent until 1991? Wow! We were sold on that until we realized that time flies when you have debts to pay.
This is only one example of how our expectations were off, but over the years we discovered yet more in both our surroundings and our personal flaws.
Through all of it–the good, the bad, and the ugly–there was one important lesson we learned. It’s vital and life changing to those who finally get it:
Happiness doesn’t come from your spouse–it comes from a Christ-centered life.
Looking to the scriptures, we see verse after verse reminding us that our strength comes from God. Those that wait on Him are refreshed. Our surroundings can never give us that feeling of joy, peace, and contentment that a life in Jesus Christ can.
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. – Isaiah 40:31
On his death bed, my father was barely 80 pounds. He was riddled with tumors in his brain and his lungs. Too weak to speak, he pulled Mom in close and gave her a smile that reminded us all how she was the wife of his youth. Over the years, he had learned the important lesson that joy comes from a life that is abandoned to Christ. As a result, he spent his last days on earth with arms raised to heaven. Not a word of complaint.
So how do you get it? How do you move from a life of discontentment and sorrow to one that is spilling over with joy?
Like the song says (and believe me I know because my dad sang it to us 24/7) you turn your eyes upon Jesus, and the things of this world will grow dim.
Day by day, teach yourself to refocus. In EVERYTHING give thanks because in doing so we learn to trust God and see His hand at work in our lives.
You are loved by an almighty God,