Everyone seems to be in the pursuit of happiness but never quite achieving it. We have been inundated with messages about the “secret to happiness.”
I have frequently observed others, including myself, try to pursue happiness in a relationship . If this isn’t relevant to you, there may be someone you know who can benefit from hearing how only the pursuit of Jesus can bring true joy into our lives.
As little girls and young women, and even as we age, our culture teaches us we are princesses who need to find our Prince Charming and have babies in order to be happy or fulfilled. Disney failed us.
However, you do not need to be in a relationship, get married, or have children to find happiness. Now, don’t get me wrong, none of these things are bad, and they definitely can bring great joy. But if you want to be truly happy in your (current or future) relationship with your spouse, you need to learn that marriage (or children) cannot be the source of your significance and happiness.
To be truly satisfied as husband and wife, you as an individual must be completely satisfied in God separate from your spouse or children. The same also goes for deep, genuine friendships and all other relationships.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27.
The romantic love espoused by our culture is a love of conditional feelings, not one of committed action. Read more about that in this blog post. In order for a marriage to flourish, it must be rooted in a mutual love and desire for Jesus Christ.
While physical attraction and relational chemistry may play a large role, especially in the early years of a relationship, it is the mutual love and desire for Jesus Christ that will make the marriage last when our feelings wane with the normal changes of age and time.
“By contrast, contemporary Western societies make the individual’s happiness the ultimate value, and so marriage becomes primarily an experience of romantic fulfillment.” Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God.
It can be easy to get so caught up in searching for the “perfect person” who will make everything right in our lives and bring us ultimate happiness. In reality, we are placing our hopes in a lesser idol who will inevitably hurt us, just as we will hurt them, because they are human.
We long for something that only God can provide, but we misplace that longing and try to force a fallible human being to be the source of our happiness. If your only source of happiness and purpose is from your spouse, then anytime they fail you, it will not just cause grief but a full on break down.
Don’t wait until you find yourself in a committed relationship or in marriage to search for and cultivate God as your source of happiness. He is already present in your life, waiting for you to long after him.
Take some time this week to reflect on where you put your hopes for happiness and consider where you may be making a relationship an idol. Re-align your thoughts and work on the one relationship that truly can be the source of happiness, joy, peace, patience, forgiveness, and love. Only then will you find the type of joy that is everlasting.