Give Now to Save America's Families!
Urgent Need: Will you become 1 of the 770 monthly donors needed by March 31 to embolden Christian homes to stand firm against cultural forces that dishonor God’s plan for marriage and families? Your monthly gift will ensure we can continue to provide trustworthy, biblical guidance and support to struggling families on an ongoing basis.
770 donors still needed! Choose the monthly amount you'd like to give

Choose Joy Over Happiness

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.

Dynamic CTA Template Below


About the Author

Read More About:

You May Also Like

Healthy Marriage

5 Ways to Stay on the Same Team

If you and your spouse are going to function as teammates in marriage, you need to actually understand each other’s situation and validate each other.

Strengthening Your Marriage

A Need for Grace

The more we realize that our performance will never reach God’s level of perfection, the more our excuses shatter. God’s patience makes it possible for us to learn deeper levels of repentance and joy.

Marriage Crisis

Be Grateful Like There’s No Tomorrow

Begin today to look for the positive qualities in your husband and the story you’re living together. Think of ways to show him — and to remind yourself — you are thankful for this life you’ve built.