What’s the secret to happily ever after?
Well, as I contemplate the question, “what is the secret to happily ever after?” one thing certainly rushes to the forefront of my mind:
If you want to be happy, don’t look to someone else to be the source of your happiness.
There is a common mistake made among people seeking to marry. They believe that they are a half of a whole and need someone else to complete them. This thought process causes a search for happiness in another person. When a person who believes this does meet someone they love, they try and pull their value and happiness from that individual; not just because they are attracted to them but because they need them.
This creates a situation in which the individual gives up control of significant areas their life to another person. When the inevitable occurs – love fades and imperfections are revealed, or God forbid, the relationship suffers a breakdown, a profound sense of disappointment and insecurity overtakes the person who began the relationship looking for completeness.
God did not create us to be completed by another but to be complimented by them.
We are created to live out our lives in a communal fashion, but not meant to seek our completion in another person.
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper as his compliment.” Genesis 2:18 HCSB
Not to complete him but to compliment him!
Compliment means to “enhance or improve”. It does not mean that it completes. You cannot seek happiness in another person! Attempting to do so will cause you to come up empty and will create an unhealthy slavery rather than a healthy freedom.
I cannot – I will not give up control over my quality of life to another person!
When contemplating the meaning of life in the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon said this:
I have seen that nothing is better than that man should be happy in his activities, for that is his lot. Ecclesiastes 3:22 NAS
If this “happiness” is dependent upon our circumstances and other people, then it remains an illusive goal. If it is within our control to grasp it, then it is accomplished independently of other people.
While saying all of these things, I understand that humanity does not find completion totally within himself. Just as a word without a context means little, so our lives without a context lose their meaning.
The context that brings meaning into our lives is relationship but not relationship with another person. We are a product of a relationship that gives meaning that preceeds our relationship with our spouse.
Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elemental forces of the world, and not based on Christ. For the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily in Christ, and you have been completed by Him, who is the head over every ruler and authority. Colossians 2:8-10
I need my spouse in the context that we are called to a common destiny. I need you in the context that we are called to a common destiny. I need my spouse and you in the body because I do not possess all the fullness of every spiritual gift within me. I am a part of the whole – not the whole.
Do you see?
But, I don’t need my spouse to complete me or make me happy as an individual. I want my spouse but can live without her. Will my earthly destiny take on a different look without her?
Yes, it will. But, I find my happiness and completion in my relationship with God and not in another individual.
You cannot base your worth or happiness on something that is temporary.
When asked what made a happy marriage, 105 year old Olive Watson said this:
Like it or not, your relationship with your spouse has limits. Your relationship with God does not.
To sum this all up, the secret to happily ever after:
Lies within your control – it is a product of your relationship with God.
Does not originate or find itself in any limited circumstance or relationship.
Finds the foundation necessary for its existence in the love of God.
Comes from character shaped by the Word of God.