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What Makes a Happy Marriage

How can I have a happy marriage?

Anytime someone finds out that I help married couples improve their marriage, this is one of the first questions they ask.
"How can I have a happy marriage?"
We all want happy marriages. Those marriages we were raised to believe happen in the happily ever afters when the prince and princess waltzed off stage after the ball.
Happily ever afters don't happen just because you marry someone that makes your heart flutter. Happily ever afters happen when two people decide to work on their marriage even when it's the hardest thing they've ever done.
But what if you are in a marriage right now and you just aren't happy?

Happily Married People Don't...

Maybe you've bought into the lie that you should always be happy with your spouse.
"Not happy? Get a divorce and find someone else who will make you happy."
Here's the problem with that line of thinking: No one has the power to control your happiness but you.
In my granny's language: "Honey, if you ain't already happy... can't nobody else make you happy." Translated: If you aren't already happy, nobody and nothing is going to suddenly make you so.
This is true in our marriages as well. If we are unhappy in our marriage, waiting for our spouse to make us happy will only lead to disappointment. He or she does not have that power.
Happily married people don't walk away when their spouse fails to meet their expectations.

So What Makes a Happy Marriage?

According to my 17-year-wise son, happiness is marrying someone that can cook. I'm praying for his future wife now. ;P
Hint: It's not that. It doesn't hurt, of course. But it is most definitely not that.
When my husband falls short of my hopes for him, remembering that I fall short of God's design for me and yet He still loves me helps me to offer my husband the very same grace that God has given me.
My husband falls short of my desires for him occasionally. When he does, I have a choice to make. I can believe that he has failed me because he doesn't care, that he's just trying to get under my skin, or a myriad of other negative thoughts. Or I can choose to remember that he is just as human as I am.
See, we fail God every single day and He still loves us. He still delights in us. His happiness isn't dependent on our perfection.
The foundation of a healthy & happy marriage is two people continuously offering grace, forgiveness, and room to grow to each other.

Room for Failure Leads to More Success

I have a theory. When we offer our spouses grace when they fail, they have a greater desire to do what it takes to succeed.
Success in their communication. Success in their careers. Success in their parenting. Success in showing up every day a better person than they were the day before.
Our spouses need to know that we believe in them and that we are rooting for them. They don't need someone keeping score of all the ways they fail every day. They need to know they can try and when they fail, they can keep trying.
If you want to increase the happiness quotient in your marriage, increase the amount of grace you give your spouse.
Happy marriages are overflowing with grace.

What Makes a Happy Marriage

How To Get Your Spouse to Join You in Marriage Coaching

Working Toward Goals With Your Spouse