How to Be Married and Happy! (4)
Happiness requires an environment of unselfishness. Two people deciding to live out what Jesus taught in His Sermon on the Mount will find happiness together. Each beatitude (what our attitude should be) begins with the word ‘blessed’, which means ‘happy’. True happiness is found in humility, a readiness to repent, gentleness, patience, being unassuming, loving what’s right and just, pure-heartedness, and peacemaking. These are the qualities that make a marriage go the distance. And notice, they’re the opposite of selfishness! An un-crucified self is the worst possible marriage material. The wedding ring symbolises unending commitment, but the key to lasting marital happiness is to lay it over the cross, the symbol of death to self. Self will put an end to love; love will put an end to self. Marriage is the ultimate invitation to put selfishness to death. Living with another imperfect person pushes us to mature, mellow and master the art of relationship-enhancing self-denial.
Paul writes, ‘Excel in showing respect for each other.’ (Romans 12:10 GWT) The test of a loving relationship lies in putting our partner’s needs before our own. Asking, ‘Whose good am I seeking in my handling of this situation?’ reveals our real heart attitude, prompting us to put our partner first. Deliberately deferring to them applies the cross to self and the flesh, and promotes our marriage. The more self dies, the more our relationship lives! ‘...a grain of wheat must fall to the ground and die to make many seeds. But if it never dies, it remains only a single seed.’ (John 12:24 NCV)