But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God;
may they be happy and joyful. Psalm 68:3
Truth be told, many of us read marriage blogs with the hope of finding that key to a happy, healthy marriage. What can we do differently, better, more intentionally to save our marriage, heal our marriage, strengthen our marriage, or improve our marriage?
For a number of years, my own marriage was in the pit – a black hole of frustration and despair. I asked myself Are we going to make it? more often than I care to think about now. Was I neglecting our marriage? Actually, during that time I read marriage books, attended marriage classes, listened to marriage sermons, and even went to couples’ counseling. I wholeheartedly believed I was pursuing every avenue to fix our flailing relationship.
Yet it continued to flail.
So what was the key? What finally helped us dig out of the pit? What brought us to where we are today – into a healthy, happy marriage?
For me, it began by recognizing my own lack of personal, spiritual health – and working on that first. I spent quite a bit of those troubled years struggling with depression, frustrated with my life choices, using God’s Word as a tool for blaming others instead of doing the hard work of living like Christ. I wanted things to change, but I hadn’t truly focused on the transformation God needed to make in me.
Why did I expect to have a healthy, happy marriage when at least one of us wasn’t a healthy, happy person?
To be sure, we had relational issues to work through, but I had to start with myself – who I was as a wife and who I was in relationship with God. I worked on getting myself healthy, sought ways to increase my contentment and joy, and focused on living out godly principles each day with my husband – such principles as love, generosity, patience, kindness – regardless of my mood or his actions. I chose to bring a healthier, happy individual to the marriage, which placed us on a far better footing to work on us.
I’m not saying this is the key for everyone, but if you’re emotionally or spiritually unhealthy or unhappy, perhaps it’s time to tackle your own obstacles. Rather than trying to make marriage fill your empty tank, grow toward loving your husband from the overflow of your heart. Healthy marriages start with healthy people.