Is Marriage Meant to Make You Happy?

Conventional wisdom says if you're not happy in your marriage, get out and move on. This is what the world promotes. At Imago Dei's recent Marriage Refresh Forum, Professional Counselor Paul Elmore and his wife Shannon Elmore presented a different, more enduring model based on Scripture. Here, you can listen to the full-length recording of their session. 

Some Key Moments from this session: 

  • Marriages typically fall apart at about 18 months (honeymoon period ends), 7 years (kids show up) or 20 years (empty-nesters).

  • To have unconventional success in marriage, you cannot follow conventional wisdom.

  • In this model, we go into marriage knowing the other person is flawed and that they cannot meet our needs.  

  • Become a student of your spouse. It is our privilege to know them, do our best to meet their needs and help make them a better person. The hope is that this will flow into the rest of the areas of our lives. 

  • Marriage is risky. There is no guarantee that your spouse will return the effort you put in. It requires an immense amount of real trust. 

  • There has to be a commitment to resolution. "We are happy" is more important than "I am happy."

  • Our self-protective ways can be obstacles to resolving conflict. These include wanting to be right, not wanting to rock the boat and wanting to maintain a certain image in front of friends and family. A posture of openness has to be maintained. 

  • Never have an argument over text. 93% of communication is nonverbal. 

  • Marriage is sacrificial. Christ poured himself out for humanity and received nothing in return. This is not a popular message. Pouring yourself out for your spouse in order to get something in return becomes a model of codependency, or doing things for someone else in order to ultimately make yourself feel good.