Tag Archives: Happiness

The Best Marriage Advice I Ever Received

I’m not always good at taking advice. But I did this time, and it changed my life.

In our last post, we made the connection between the American Dream and the high divorce rate. Too often we’re not marrying the person; we’re marrying the idea that this person will make us happy or meet certain needs in our life. And when we discover that our spouse is unable to meet our needs or keep us happy, we split.

But if the primary purpose of marriage isn’t happiness, then what is it?

You don’t get very far in the bible before finding marriage. In just the second chapter of Genesis, we find God saying about Adam, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” God found Adam lacking and he created a helper for him.

“Helping” implies “serving.” I cannot help you without serving you.

Do not think that this was condescending to Eve. The Hebrew word for Helper is “Ezer” and it was often used to refer to God himself. Think about it…if you need my help, then obviously I am coming to you out of a place of strength, not out of weakness.

Fast forward about ten thousand years. 

I’m an idealist, a romantic. I had all these false ideas of what love should feel like. So when Beth and I were dating, one of my mentors had his hands full trying to teach me what God really had to say about love and marriage. Using Ephesians 5:25 as his rationale, he would say over and over “Marriage is all about serving, so find someone who is easy to serve.”

If you read Ephesians 5:25, which explains how husbands are supposed to love their wives, you’ll find that it is completely about the husband following Jesus’ example, by serving his wife and laying down his life for her. Nowhere does it say that the husband should demand that the wife meet his needs or make him happy.

Well, I took my mentor’s advice. I married a woman who is incredibly easy to serve. She’s my best friend and I couldn’t imagine life without her.

So if you’re single, focus on finding someone who is easy to serve, because that’s the core of marriage. If you’re already married, then change your focus from “happiness” to “serving.” And strive to become someone who is good at serving and also easy to serve. Not demanding, overbearing, critical, complaining, etc.

A good marriage isn’t rocket science. It’s simply having your focus in the right place.

Committed to your success,

-Wesley

Comments: What do you think of this advice that marriage is all about serving?

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Is the American Dream Causing Divorce?

There’s a hundred different reasons why people divorce, but in a recent business leader’s breakfast the speaker boiled it down to just one: The Pursuit of Happiness.

 

Our Declaration of Independence declares that we are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” The right to pursue happiness is in the DNA of every American.

But we live in a different world than the men did who first wrote this declaration. To them, happiness was defined as freedom from tyranny, and freedom to be self-governed. Happiness was NOT defined as an emotion.

How does this relate to divorce?

When the purpose of your life is to pursue happiness, you base all of your decisions on “will this make me happy?” And if we’re honest, we all walked down the aisle thinking that marriage would make us happy, at least to some degree. But marriage also brings its share of pain.

Divorce is inevitable when your core purpose is to pursue happiness and your marriage is causing you pain.

I’m at that age (mid-thirties) where I’m seeing my peers divorce. People I never would have thought would divorce are splitting up, and it breaks my heart. It’s been said that divorce is more painful than death, because with death, you at least get closure. 

It’s interesting to note that the divorce rate increases with each marriage. First marriages have a 50% chance of divorce, second marriages 67%, and third marriages 74%. In other words, the marriage you are in right now has the highest chance of success than any marriage you could ever have.

We have to learn that the purpose of marriage goes way beyond happiness. And for that matter, the purpose of your life goes way beyond happiness. Happiness is a byproduct of living life right.

Committed to your success,

-Wesley

P.S. How have you bought into the belief that life is about pursuing happiness?

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The Secret Source of Serious Satisfaction

“Now what?” This is one of the saddest phrases you can say. People spend their lives in search of a dream, only to see it fulfilled and say, “Now what?”

I felt that after we paid off our debt. Oh I’ll admit, it was an awesome feeling to push the “pay now” button for the last time on Beth’s $40,000 school loan (which was our lowest interest rate and hence the last thing we paid off…forget the debt snowball…tackle your highest interest rate first).

“Now what” happens so fast. It seemed like the excitement of paying off our debt faded so quickly, and in just a day or two we were on to the next goal. It’s like the mountain climber who, once he ascends the peak of a mountain realizes there are so many more mountains to climb. “Great…nice view…now what?”

I think of this every time I watch a championship game…the winners stand there so proud…a life dream accomplished for so many of them. But then comes Monday morning. Then comes next season. “We won the Superbowl…now what?” The fulfillment from reaching a goal fades so quickly, that you have to have a source of contentment in your life that is deeper than an accomplished goal.

In Psalm 73, the writer Asaph begins by confessing how he was envying the wealthy, for they had “no struggles” and were “free from common burdens.” But then he has a revelation and ends the chapter by saying “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. God is…my portion forever (vs. 25-26).”

While debt may be difficult, envy is a killer (and maybe part of the reason you’re in debt…keeping up with the Jones’ is a fancy phrase for envy). The secret to true satisfaction in life is to understand and believe that God is your source. This can’t just be head knowledge…you have to anchor your emotions in the fact that God himself is enough. God + your debt = enough. God + your marriage = enough. God + your poverty = enough. God + nothing else = enough.

Beware of destination disease. Think you’ll be happy once you’re out of debt? You won’t be…not unless you’re already happy now. Financial freedom is nice, but honestly it doesn’t feel a whole lot different than being in debt (hate to bust your bubble). At the end of the day we have to go deeper and be able to say as Asaph did that there is nothing on this earth that will ultimately satisfy me outside of God himself. God is my portion. God is enough.

Committed to your success,

-Wesley

We respond to 100% of our comments! What are some false sources of satisfaction that you see people turning to? How do you struggle with destination disease?

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