The Truth About Marriage!

During our pre-marital counseling, we were told that our “biggest weakness” was that we were both too optimistic about how great marriage would be. ‘If that’s our biggest weakness, we have nothing to worry about!’, we thought to ourselves and laughed, leaving the session feeling quite confident and perplexed at the evaluation.

Two years later, I realize what our counselors actually meant by that assessment is: If you plan to place your happiness into the hands of another human being, you will surely be let down at some point. Many times, might I add. Actually, if you make your happiness contingent upon any life circumstance or material possession, you will surely be let down – many times. They were trying to teach us that happiness comes from a decision within, and when you can achieve bliss on your own, then you are ready to give and receive love from another.

When you’re single, you have no choice but to rely on yourself for happiness day-to-day. You don’t even realize you’re doing it. But when it comes to marriage, by having such painfully high expectations that life would be “blissful” because we were married was flawed logic and is a dangerous mindset to fall into – single or married. If you’re single and unhappy, thinking that marriage will “make you happy” is only partially true. Sure, most of us crave companionship and having a partner to “do life” with, and once we find that, it does make us very happy! But that’s only half of the story.

The defining point in marriage is not how you handle the beautiful and magical moments. Rather, it is defined by how you respond to the hardships in life that we all inevitably and sometimes relentlessly endure. That is when your happiness and satisfaction cannot be based upon circumstance or other people. You have to learn to draw peace and joy from something more transcendent. As my pastor Peter Haas says, “happiness is not a circumstantial issue, it’s a spiritual issue”. The key is to cultivate happiness despite life’s problems and shortcomings. Actually, you must find a way to be happy regardless of problems in life, because life will never be problem-free. 

The truth about a blissful marriage is this: If you take ownership of your own happiness, every single day, you can be happily married. A lot of conflict in marriage stems from placing our expectations of happiness upon another flawed human being. A lot more conflict can happen if we refuse to forgive our partner for being “flawed.” Our job is not to point out the flaws in another, but help them feel accepted for exactly who they are today, and who they are striving to become.

What I’ve learned is that it’s not how much happiness you can get out of a marriage, it’s how much happiness you can breathe into it, after cultivating it on your own accord. Truly, marriage is sanctifying and beautiful. Two people hold space for each other to grow, learn, and heal. Every day you choose faith, choose grace, and choose to love. And when you give those things freely away to another person, you can experience true bliss.

What are your thoughts on marriage? Forgiveness? Happiness? Grace? Are you married or single? Lets chat in the comments! Also, feel free to join the conversation on Twitter by using #howtobehappyjanuary.

Emily Olson

Wife, Mom, Christ Follower. I am passionate about making YouTube videos and writing.

“You can edit out all of the imperfect things, but you don’t have to.”

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12 Discussion to this post

  1. Heather Drury says:

    Yes! I absolutely agree! I also believe that too many people rely on this idea that being with someone would make them magically happy. (Myself being one of them) I suppose I got over that idea when relationship after relationship (I feel) was designed just to break a different piece of me apart. It wasn’t until then that I discovered just how empowering being single was!
    Later, when I found that special someone I was scared to death of marriage!!! I was terrified that the relationship we had would somehow change because I’ve seen so many others do the same. Maybe because I was on the outside looking in, I could see the wonderful things they were doing and what I felt was mistakes. You have to have a ton of forgiveness and an equal amount of grace to make it work.

    Sorry for rambling! Lol! I loved your post and it was definitely something that I was guilty of in the past.

    • Emily Olson says:

      What a thoughtful comment! I’m so glad you reached out. I think marriage ultimately makes you into a better version of yourself. But you have to be willing to let it mold you! That’s the fun part though. It’s incredibly gratifying! Thank you for your comment! I look forward to chatting again!

  2. Laura says:

    Love reading this. My husband and I have been married a year and a few months, and we just moved from U.S. to Australia so we are learning a ton about each other and happiness. Thanks for your encouragement!

  3. Sarah-Beth says:

    Oh my, this spoke to my soul girl! My husband and I have been married for 6 months, and it has truly been amazing. But I also know that placing my happiness in someone else’s hands, no matter who it might be, is a recipe for disappointment. Like you said, cultivating happiness in your every day is where true happiness lies! Thank you so much for your encouragement, I’ll definitely remember this post when times get tough and I let me expectations get the best of me!


    • Emily Olson says:

      I’m so glad!! Wow congrats on 6 months of marriage!! That is awesome! 🙂 I’m so glad that you have this perspective this early into marriage – you’re on an AWESOME path!!! Much love!!!

  4. Nica Gerona says:

    A good advice for single people and those in a boyfriend-girlfriend status like me. Thank you Emily!

  5. Laurel says:

    Thanks for posting this! I’m about 8 months from getting married, and I think that sometimes I feel like getting married will just “fix” everything. But the fact is, I’m still going to get emotional, I’ll just have him by my side every time it happens. This was a nice reality check that I probably needed!

    • Emily Olson says:

      Totally! I can relate to you in having those expectations, and then having to check them!! I’m so glad you’re being so honest about that! 🙂 Marriage will be great for you!

  6. Erika Andersen says:

    What a great post!!! Thank you so much for this

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