Tag Archives: marriage

Marriage That Lasts: The Happy Factor

There have been a couple of blogs recently floating around about marriage. In reading them, I noticed the word “happy” is getting a lot of use.

One blog submits, in part, that marriage it not for you, it is for the other person (which I don’t entirely disagree with)—to make the other person happy. The other post asserts that you should marry a person who makes you happy.

This word “happy” is what gets me.

Personally, I believe the word “happy” is why so many people split up. Some people believe they are entitled to a life filled with happiness. Unicorns and rainbows. And that they should never, ever be unhappy.

I have been married to my high school sweetheart for 24 years. Have we had moments of happy? Yes, we have. Lots of happy. Do I feel like it is my job to make my husband happy? No, I most certainly do not. Do I feel like it is his job to make me happy? Absolutely not.

Happiness is an emotion and you cannot base a relationship solely on emotion. Maybe emotions brought you together initially, but emotions wax and wane. Happy is not 24/7. Happy is temporary. And Happy should not be a pre-requisite to love.

Love is something different.


People do feel love, but to me, love is not an emotion. Love is a choice. It is a verb, requiring action by both people in the marriage. It is a thing you DO and I am not just talking about what you DO in the bedroom.

If you spend your married life demonstrating love to your spouse, I believe you will find yourself in a long lasting marriage. If you spend your time worrying about your happiness, or the happiness of your spouse, you will be sorely disappointed. I promise you.

What does this mean? This means that you have to ignore toothpaste splatters, toilet seats left in the upright position, how he loads the dishwasher or diapers the kid. It means you will have hardships. It means that sometimes you will feel like you are giving more to the relationship. Other times, you will be the needy one. It means sometimes he will really get on your nerves and hurt your feelings and you will not be happy at all. You will have to do things you do not want to do. So will your spouse. That is just how it is. That is called relationship. You will be happy and you will be unhappy. That is the reality of marriage.

Marriage that lasts is about love, but it is also about forgiveness, which, like love, is not an emotion, but a verb. Oh, and there are those other verbs: commitment and work.

I have heard people say, “I love him/her, but I’m not IN love with him/her anymore”, which is basically code for “he/she doesn’t make me happy anymore.” If I had based my marriage satisfaction only on whether or not I was happy, honey, I’d have been out of here long ago!

Marriage isn’t about the Happy Factor, people!

Marriage is about love, forgiveness, commitment and the work it takes to make a life together and honor each other. It is about wanting the best for your spouse and being the best you can be for your spouse. Marriage isn’t just about you and it isn’t only about him. There will be times of happy and there will be hard times, but you can’t just bail because the thrill is gone.

So, maybe you want to ask me, “Joell, are you happy in your marriage?” My answer would probably depend on the day, because my Happy Factor varies. But if you ask me if I love my husband, my answer is this:

Unequivocally, yes. I love him differently today than I did when I met him 30 years ago. I love him more deeply and more completely than I did on the day we married. I am wholly committed to him—on the days that he annoys me and on the days he seems too needy and on the days he gives me a can-opener for Christmas (yes, that happened). I love him on the days he rubs my feet, just because. And on the days he works extra hard to do a good job at work, because he loves his family and wants to provide for us. And on the days he puts a blanket on me when I fall asleep in the recliner. I choose to love him every day, regardless of how I am feeling at the time. I love him because he loves me, even on the days I am a moody, hormonal, straight up pain in the butt. I will never regret my decision to love and marry such a good man.

I believe we need to take our example from Christ and how He loves us—freely and without condition. Then, work each day to demonstrate that same kind of love to our spouses, which is no easy task. And which is why people get tired and unhappy about having to do that day in and day out. I get it. It is hard work. Guess what? Sometimes you just have to dig down deep and love anyway. Even when you aren’t feeling happy. I am pretty sure there is nowhere in the scriptures that says, “Thou shalt always feel happy.”

So, I encourage you to press on, my married friends. Enjoy those happy moments, and embrace the not-so-happy ones too, for they are what enduring marriages are made of.


NOTE: Please don’t take this the wrong way, y’all. It is great to be happy, to feel happy, but don’t base everything on that. Also, I am not saying you should stay with your abusive spouse—if you find yourself in that situation, please get help and get to where you are safe, for yourself and for your children. And I am not saying you should tolerate unfaithfulness either. Just want to clear those things up!


Filed under Family, Marriage

30 Days of Thankfulness-Day 2

Sweetie, Hubby, The Hub.

He is known by many names to me, but my husband is a true gift.

  • I am so thankful to have a good man who loves me, who loves our kids, who works so hard and is so faithful.

I met Clyn when I was 13 and he was 17.  Unbeknownst to my parents, my friend, Alecia, and I snuck out her bedroom window one summer night in 1983 when I was sleeping over at her house, to meet up with her neighbor. He was older, had a car, and we were headed out for an adventure that would change my life.

On the way to “town”, we made a stop I was not expecting, to pick up a boy I did not know. When he got in the car, I was not happy.  I was feeling a little ambushed, not a little petrified. I did not have any experience with boys and now, I was in the car with a strange one and I knew my parents would be LIVID if they found out! Livid because a) I had snuck out b) I was with 2 older boys. in a car. headed to downtown where all the high school kids hung out c) I was in no way allowed to date—especially some strange boy my parents had never laid eyes on. Man, oh, man. I was in deep. Add to that the fact that we went to the movies. Cujo. Rated “R”, if I’m not mistaken. 

I did not swoon right away.  But he was nice and he did not try anything shady.  I did not see him again until that fall at school when he was a senior; I was a freshman. He started talking to me and walking me to my classes. I was smitten. And, with the assurance from Clyn’s older sister’s husband, who my dad knew, that Clyn was a “nice boy”, we were allowed to date—with certain restrictions, of course.

But it was all over.  We had our on and off moments, but less than 7 years later, we were married.

Twenty-two years after that, we have made a good life for ourselves and our kids.  He is a man of integrity.  He works hard. He doesn’t ask for much. He loves his mama. He is committed to me and the kids. He is a wonderful daddy who has changed diapers, given baths, been up at night with sick kids and taught both children how to ride a bike. He accepts me with all my neuroses—for that alone he should get some kind of BIG prize!

It is not all flowers and candy and butterflies in my stomach anymore, but it is love. True and deep. Love that is committed. Love that allows him to be who he is, ignores toilet seat practices and toothpaste squeezing tendencies. Love that forgives. Love that trusts.

Are we perfect? No. Do we argue? Oh yes. Some days are hard and crazy. Some days are fantastic.

Love is a choice—not an emotion.  I would say that our staying married 22 years is a  product of choosing to love the other person each day—in all our imperfection. I am so thankful my Sweetie chooses to love me each day.

Until tomorrow—Be thankful!


Filed under 30 Days of Thankfulness

I would say yes again.

wedding pic

Today, October 28, 2011 marks 22 years of marriage for my Sweetie and me.  I have been married more than half my life…kinda weird to think about it that way.

We were just kids that day in 1989—he was 23 and I was 20. I look at my Emma now, at age 13, and am FLOORED to think that when I was 13, I met her father for the first time.

I look at my Sweetie today, and I am so grateful.  He works hard. He is a man of integrity. He is an amazing daddy to our kids. He loves me, God help him! But he does.  It blows me away and I stand amazed at that fact. After 22 years, he still has the hots for me.

I am blessed. I am grateful for the man God has given me to do life with.

Thank you, Sweetie, for loving me and for putting up with me all these years. Thank you for our children. Thank you for being the sweet and wonderful man you are.

I love you.

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Filed under Family