In 2009, when I first wrote this devotion there was a new study out called You Can’t Be Happier than Your Wife: Happiness Gaps and Divorce. All these years later and these findings are still true. When I read this article I was surprised at many details I would have never considered. Did you know that 2/3's of all divorces filed, are filed by the wife? Did you know that when the wife did most of the housework, if her income was higher than her husbands or if they were from different social backgrounds, then the divorce rate was higher? Fear not, desperate housewives your marriage isn't doomed, neither is the successful business woman's or those of different backgrounds. As a matter of fact in the marriages where the woman was a housewife or student, chores where shared, and/or backgrounds where similar, things were looking pretty sunny not a cloud in the sky.
What the study suggests is that too large of a "happiness gap" is what spurs on a divorce. Now, that I get. It's not about the housework, the money or social background differences, it's simply about happiness. It seems to me that because it is women that are filing for divorce at a much higher rate than men, means only one thing...the men are happy and they didn't think divorce was necessary. They still think they can fix all things.
What about us women? When that happiness gap gets bigger and bigger we don't know how to close it. We throw our hands up and say "I'm over it!" Right? Well, the way I see it, if you are still hanging in here with me, you haven't thrown your hands up, you aren't "over it" and you are willing to close the gap so that you and your husband are both equally happy.
Now, this study only gives worldly suggestions to how to solve the problem, like sharing responsibilities, giving equal time to responsibilities, etc. It also tells us that we should be careful about "keeping score". We should be careful when thinking that responsibilities should be shared equally. Keeping score can lead to resentment. What it suggests to me is that communication is critical because expectations can simply go unnoticed. Asking for help in a nice way is going to always be much better than complaining that your husband "never helps out."
What the study doesn't tell us is that we have a manual that is written to perfection as a guide to our happiness. You guessed it, God's Holy Word, our divine Bibles have the answer.
Give me your heart...and let your eyes delight in my ways. -Proverbs 23:26
"Delight", I love that word. It makes my whole outlook seem brighter. In order to be happy, we need to find delight in one another and the things we do for each other. To find happiness in my marriage is what is at the top of my list. I want to be happy when I am a friend to my husband, I want to be happy when I fold his clothes, I want to be happy when we have time to spend with our children, I want to be happy!!!
My husband is the first to say "our marriage isn't broken, what's to fix". He's happy! However, I'm the one that finds myself crying sometimes because he doesn't have time to talk to me during the work day or goes to sleep as soon as he hits the pillow, instead I should be happy he is willing to work so hard. I could rattle down a whole list of reasons why I need to be happy but instead, I need to apply what I already know and start being happy with where my marriage is headed. I am delighted that God has a plan for us!
The good news is, that if your have a happiness gap, God has what you need to close it. It may take a bit of shameless persistence to close that gap but it will be worth it. Luke 11:5-10 is the parable of a persistent friend. Matt 7:7 has the same message. Ask. Seek. Knock.
For everyone who asked receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
If you want to know the first step and most important secret to closing your happiness gap, the above scripture is it.
Drop something you normally feel you need to do and spend time in prayer for your marriage. Ask for happiness. Seek happiness. Bang on Heavens gates for happiness. God will give, show you, and open up the possibilities. Also, take a moment to find delight in your husband for the sake of your happiness.
The Lord will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire. – Isaiah 58:11
I am married to my high school sweetheart. We've been pressing ahead together for over 24 years. We have 5 beautiful children; 3 by my own body and 2 through foster to adopt. I wrote this Bible study in 2009, years ago, for myself and shared it on my blog. It is very dear to my heart. It's been tweaked and edited many times and I'm proud to be bringing it back to you. Over the years I received countless emails from women who credited this study with changing their marriage for the better. Since removing it from my old blog I have received just as many emails asking when it would return. I hope you enjoy spending your time in God's Word with me.