When I try to explain the concept of choosing happiness to my children, I tell them this: “Every day is not what we would call a happy day, but every day has the seeds of happiness in it.” To better understand the concept of happiness, we can look at ancient texts that show the Greek word for happiness, makarios, is linked to a response to the goodness of God. True happiness is borne out of a thankfulness for the good things in our life.
So in applying that to marriage — every day may not be a good day, but every day can have good in it if we make a habit of seeking out even a morsel of good. That practice will help us find happiness in our marriage.
Every day may not be a good day, but every day can have good in it if we make a habit of seeking out even a morsel of good.
“But, you don’t know my husband,” you might say. Or, “You have no idea how horrible my marriage is.” Okay, I hear you. And now you have a choice. If you intend on staying married to your husband — (and read on to see why we hope you do) — then why not choose to see the good in your marriage, and let happiness be your response? If you don’t choose happiness, even by default, then you are choosing unhappiness. And believe me, choosing happiness in your marriage is worth it. You will be happier, your children will be happier, and your home will be happier.
So try these 5 ways to choose happiness in your marriage.
1. Be positive — not picky.
Did your husband force you to marry him or did you choose to marry him? Most of us married our husbands willingly. Why did you marry yours? Did his kindness win you over or was it the way he made you laugh? Find the positive in your husband and in your marriage and respond with gratefulness. If you’re having trouble thinking of something, change your perspective and look over our list of 99 things you might be thankful for about your husband.
2. Find other routes to happiness.
If your marriage isn’t filling your happiness tank, find other ways to fill it. A steady route to happiness is helping others. It can be a small gesture like writing an encouraging letter once a week, or making cookies for a neighbor. What else makes you happy? Think about it. What thought makes you smile? Identify happiness generators and put them to work. Remember, the ancient writers share that happiness is rooted in recognizing the blessings that come from making good choices.
So continue making good choices in your marriage and in your life. This will lead to fulfillment on a deeper level, so you will be more equipped to deal with your difficult relationship. The more fulfilled you are, the less pressure you’ll feel to make your marriage your source of happiness.
3. Let faith fuel your happiness.
Ultimately, having a greater purpose in life, and pursuing it, gives our life meaning and therefore happiness. Most of our happiness pursuits bring transient results unless they’re rooted in something more substantial. A reliable route to find your greater purpose in life is to ground yourself in your faith. That way, you’re not basing your happiness on others’ reactions to your actions or efforts. You are happy because you know you are loved by someone whose capacity to love is much greater than your husband’s.
And, not to go too deep here, but you might also want to consider the cousin of happiness, joy. Joy in the ancient Greek is different from what we think of as joy in the English language. The Greek joy means a rejoicing in our circumstances. So, even in our difficult marriage, we can choose to respond with joy, with thankfulness for the good we do have.
4. Get rest.
This may sound crazy, but it’s not. If we are exhausted, we will not feel happy. We won’t even want to choose happiness. Our outlook will be sour and we will certainly not feel like choosing happiness when sliding into unhappiness is so much easier. Remember, true happiness is a response to the blessings in our life. If we’re too tired to notice those blessings, we will be less able to feel happiness.
5. Get closer.
Even it we choose happiness in the midst of a not so perfect marriage, wouldn’t it be nice to actually have a marriage that makes choosing happiness easier? Don’t give up on trying to make your marriage better. Even if you feel like your efforts to draw closer to your husband have been rebuffed, keep at it. Practice what you preach to your children — perseverance and endurance.
What’s helped you to choose happiness in your marriage?