“But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” – James 1:4 KJV
I took up golf about fifteen years ago. Let’s assume for a minute that God was the one who wanted me to play golf (which I, however self-servingly, believe to be true). Now, let’s ask the million-dollar question: Why did God want me to play golf? Initially, I thought it was because God wanted me to be happy. But once I started playing, I quickly realized my error. How did I know? I was really unhappy when I first started playing golf because I was really bad at it.
I’ve come to realize that golf is not designed to make golfers happy. Golf is designed to make golfers really unhappy and, as a result, motivate them to become better golfers who are “mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:4). I believe God wanted me to play golf because He wanted to use that particular sport to help me grow as a person, both spiritually and psychologically (which, by the way, I don’t always appreciate!). Now when I encounter challenges and setbacks on the golf course, I look at them as opportunities to learn new skills and to become a stronger, more competent golfer.
Let’s apply this golf discussion to marriage. Imagine a marriage in which the husband and wife think marriage is supposed to make them happy. They are miserable whenever conflicts and setbacks arise and may eventually want to walk away from the marriage altogether. Consider how different this husband and wife would feel if they approached marriage with the focus of growing into more mature, agape-loving people who helped each other do the same. Each day would be an opportunity to learn something new about marriage and about each other. Each day would open the door for them to grow into more fully loving and wholehearted people. And, yes, both of them would be content, peaceful, and, dare I say it—happy—as a result.
God, please help me to stop focusing on my happiness and start focusing on helping me and my spouse mature. Please help me to see the shortsightedness of seeking primarily happiness in marriage.
About Dr Chris Thurman
Dr. Chris Thurman is the bestselling author of The Lies We Believe and numerous other books. He is a Christian psychologist.