Category Archives: Happiness

The Gift of Happiness

During this Christmas season, we all want to find happiness.  What is true happiness though?  Is America the happiness we all are searching for…I mean we all know that our Declaration of Independence states that we all have the right to pursue happiness.

Can we find happiness?  Can our marriages (or relationships) bring us the happiness?  Here are my answers to these questions…  Yes, we can find happiness, but our marriages/relationships cannot bring us happiness.  I know this might set some of you back.  However, let me explain.

Happiness is something we have to find within ourselves.  We cannot expect anyone else to give it to us.  I found this out about six years ago when I began to realize that my old “happy-go-lucky” self had left.  I was now the “don’t cut me off or I will cuss you out” guy.  I began to wonder how did I get to this place where I was frustrated more often then not and was not happy with my life.

After careful consideration, I began to realize it was because I was giving power to everyone else in my life.  I was letting them determine whether I was going to be happy and/or satisfied with my life.  I was like a golden retriever throwing balls to people waiting for them to pick them up and throw them back.  However, they would just let the ball lie at their feet.  By this analogy, I am meaning that I would do things for others only to wait for them to do something back for me…or…I would go above and beyond for someone only for them to recognize what I had done.  In both of these situations, nothing would ever happen to suffice for what I was looking to get.

This was also illustrated by certain aspects in my life.  I thought I would be happy when I got married because I would have found someone that thought of me the way I thought of myself.  If you have been married…you know this feeling only lasts anywhere from about 9 months to no more than three years.  Then I thought when I bought my house that I would be happy.  After buying your home, it seems that all you can see is the projects that need to be done and the issues with the house.  Needless to say, buying a house did not bring happiness either.  Then I thought when I had kids, that would surely bring me happiness.  HA!  Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids and they do bring me happiness…but they also bring along with them frustration.

When I began to take back the power of my life, I found myself starting to find happiness again.  I need to find happiness within myself.  Happiness is not found in any gift that is outside of ourselves.  We can only find happiness by choosing to be happy.  This Christmas, take sometime to determine to be happy.

The 3 Pursuits of a Great Marriage

Is a marriage successful if a couple has a house with a white picket fence?  What about if a couple makes such a comfortable living they want for nothing?  Finally, what if they are so generous they live one 10% and give 90% of their income away?

These are all niceties, but none of them are what makes for a successful relationship.  What does make for a successful relationship?  I feel they are items that cannot be bought nor do they come without work.

Here are three elements that I have found that make for a great marriage and worthy for two people to pursue:

1. Allow each other to be free – The relationships that are the strongest allow each other the freedom to find themselves.  They do not demand that each person only focus on the marriage; rather, each is allowed to pursue activities outside of the marriage as well.

2. Keep no record of wrongs – Conflict is an aspect to every relationship.  However, in marriages where wrongs are kept then there is no peace.  The person holding onto the hurts is left to relive the pain each day.  The person who caused the pain is left to be blamed continually for the cracks in the relationship.  Grace is the foundation of any relationship and its definitely needed in this situation.  Forgiveness is what brings healing.  However, forgiveness does not mean that one forgets what has happened.  Rather, it means that each determines to move on by choosing to remember them from a distance.

3. Give energy to the relationship I am flabbergasted at those couples, who after years of not putting focus on their relationship, wonder why they feel distant.  The most common statement that illustrates this sentiment is “I just don’t love him/her any longer.”  I don’t mean to make plight of someone’s circumstances; however, I wonder if these people realize that love is a choice and not a feeling.  What they are truly saying in this statement is that I am actively choosing not to love this person any longer.  Marriage (or any relationship for that matter) takes energy.  Energy can be seen by going on continual date nights, talking time to connect by talking and spending quality time together, and recreating together.  Now, this list is not all inclusive; of course there are more.  However, this is a good place to start.

I know there are other items that make marriage (and relationships) work, but these are the top three for me…as I think about it tonight.  Marriage is an active, liquid, and dynamic relationship between two people.  Even though, in our culture, marriage has taken a beating, it still has been proven to house the happiest and wealthiest people.  Marriage is not the issue, nor the problem.  It is the people within a marriage that are the problem.  This issue is to be expected since marriage is the making of two broken people trying to find wholeness in a relationship.

Are you married?  What are the elements that make you want to pursue being married?