Choose Joy Over Happiness

By Kay Warren
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email
Smiling couple chooses joy in they marriage
Jojo Ensslin
When troubles come, joy is often exposed as undependable happiness. Kay and Rick Warren learned that happiness wasn't enough — they needed joy — true joy that can only come from God.

It’s been said that opposites attract. In my marriage, that couldn’t be truer. My husband, Rick, is definitely a Tigger — an optimistic extrovert and a glass-half-full kind of guy. On the other hand, I am an Eeyore, introverted and convinced the glass is half empty. As a young, dating couple, Rick and I found these differences intriguing. As newlyweds, our personalities clashed and created painful conflict in our marriage.

Does this resonate with you? Marriage is often not the fairy tale we expect. So what do we do when happiness eludes us? We choose joy.

As my perspective has matured over the years, I’ve learned to appreciate the personality differences between Rick and me. Especially because those differences have taught me not to equate happiness with joy.

When everything was going well, Rick and I concluded that we had joy. But when troubles came, that joy was often exposed as flimsy and undependable happiness. We quickly learned that happiness wasn’t enough for us; we needed something sturdier and more reliable. We needed joy — true joy that can only come from God.

9 Lies That Will Destroy Your Marriage

There are nine lies about marriage that are rampant in our culture and the church. Lies like "all you need is love" are destroying marriages.But the corresponding truths can make any marriage great for both spouses and even save the most troubled relationships.

Joy is not dependent on what happens to us as a couple. It is the settled assurance that God is in control of the details of life, the quiet confidence that everything will be OK and the determined choice to praise Him. Marriage has been the best testing ground for learning that God is the only constant in a world of ever-changing economics, health, relationships and unexpected events.

I used to think life was like a series of highs and lows, but now I believe life is more like a set of parallel train tracks, with happiness and sorrow running side by side. I can easily gravitate toward the sorrow side of the tracks, while Rick more naturally veers toward the happiness side of the tracks. But we’ve learned that both of us are right in our perceptions: Happiness and sorrow are a part of our existence. Regardless of the emotion, God’s joy can be present.

It’s easy to let circumstances (happy and sad) steal the joy out of what God designed as a good marriage union. But when we choose joy over happiness, we discover God’s hidden blessings in the good and bad of life — and in the differences between us. Joy is a choice, and I’m grateful Rick and I, as a couple, have learned to make that choice every day.

Copyright © 2012 by Kay Warren. Used by permission. From the Focus on the Family website at FocusOnTheFamily.com.

Learn How to Cherish your Spouse and Have a Deeper Connection

Do you cherish your spouse? Couples who cherish each other understand that God created everyone different, and as a result they treasure the unique characteristics in their spouse. We want to help you do just that. Start the free five-part video course called, “Cherish Your Spouse”, and gain a deeper level of connection with your spouse.

Book Cover: Aftershock A Plan for Recovery

Aftershock: Overcoming His Secret Life with Pornography: A Plan for Recovery

This book is for women who have discovered their husband’s struggle with pornography and other sexual infidelities. Based on biblical principles and psychologically sound advice, Aftershock is designed to help women heal, grow, and receive restoration for themselves, their husbands, and their marriages.
Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

How useful was this article?

Click or Tap on a star to rate it!

Average Rating: 0 / 5

We are sorry that this was not useful for you!

Help us to improve.

Tell us how we can improve this article.

About the Author

You May Also Like

Couple holding hands looking out at autumn trees surrounding lake
Dealing with Differences

Finding Strength in Your Differences

If you find yourself married to your opposite, rejoice! You have access to a whole new set of skills and strengths that can make life a whole lot more well-rounded.

Perfect 10 Marriage
Communication Struggles

Perfect 10

Join the Perfect 10 Marriage Event from Focus on the Family! Saturday, October 10, 8:30 p.m. EST. Premieres on YouTube.