Give Him the Gift of Happiness

Christmas is past, but there’s still a gift you can give. How about a present we wives can give our husbands in the coming year that would mean so much, that could smooth the wrinkles of our relationships and nurture intimacy?

Give him the gift of happiness.

Not his happiness. You’re not in control of that.

Your own happiness.

Woman smiling

Pic credit: Microsoft Word Clip Art

You see, some of the worst struggles in marriage occur when one spouse is simply unhappy — unhappy with themselves, where they are in life, others around them, and more. It’s hard to be happy in marriage when one spouse is unhappy everywhere else.

Moreover, happy people are more engaging, appealing, attractive. Of course, we want to mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15), but a long-term, constant stream of unhappiness from one spouse taxes the whole relationship. And we often choose — perhaps unintentionally, yet still a choice — to be unhappy.

Instead, choose happiness.

“But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God;
may they be happy and joyful.” Psalm 68:3

Look, I’m not saying this is easy. Indeed, external circumstances make joy quite difficult at times; however, I encourage you to pursue happiness regardless of circumstance (Philippians 4:11). To the best of your ability, decide not to be an unhappy wife who then expects her husband to somehow make her happy.

Because that’s not his job either.

So how can you nurture happiness?

Take care of physical health. We feel better — less moody, more confident — when we eat right, drink enough water, and exercise. Our bodies respond with stress relief and feel-good chemicals flowing through our veins. When we feel physically good, we’re far more likely to feel emotionally happy. (For healthy and happy ideas, check out the Calm.Healthy.Sexy blog.)

Address character flaws. You know those issues that continue to plague you year after year? Perhaps it’s a short temper or a tendency toward gossip or “white lies” or financial mismanagement — or maybe you share my struggle with impatience. It’s time to stop making excuses or say, “That’s just the way I am,” and address those character flaws — head on. Bam!

Stick to priorities. My own unhappy times often come when I feel more overwhelmed than a sand crab in a tsunami. When your to-do list is longer than Rapunzel’s hair, it’s easy to become frustrated and unhappy. Why do we allow this to happen? Even encourage it by taking on too much? Instead, let’s stick to our priorities, engage in what matters and what brings us joy. Life will still sweep over in billowing waves at times, but not because we stirred the ocean ourselves.

Be positive. We need about five positive interactions to balance out every one negative interaction with someone. Which means we’d better invest in being positive — a lot. I’ve joked that the one Bible command I complain about is Philippians 2:14: “Do everything without complaining and arguing.” Really? Everything? For many, like us natural pessimists, it requires a conscious effort to stay positive and grasp those silver linings with both hands. But it’s worth the effort. (For more on being positive, see the Happy Wives Club blog.)

Plug in to the Ultimate Source of joy. Regularly. It’s hard to make up your mind one day to just be happy. Happiness is usually a byproduct of other attitudes. Which attitudes? Start with cultivating:

  • Gratitude. Count your blessings and express thanks to God and those around you (1 Thessalonians 3:9).
  • Peace of mind. Give your concerns over to God in prayer and ask His presence to fill you with calm (Philippians 4:6-7).
  • Eternal focus. Keep your eyes on Jesus and God’s eternal plan (Philippians 4:12-13).

Such things are building blocks for happiness, and they come from a right relationship with our Creator.

Be a servant. I once held onto the notion that I would not serve my husband; I would not be the sort of weak female constantly scurrying and serving my husband like a bad 1950s sitcom. When I started serving my husband instead — not because I had to, but because I wanted to — I realized it brought me (and him) real joy.

Sure, my husband can do plenty without me (he’s certainly no weak man), but why not bring him a cup of tea? Run errands for him? Fluff his pillow? Cook his favorite meal? Find ways to turn him on in the bedroom? Why not be servant-minded, kind, generous? Being a servant can bring real happiness into your life. (Get great tips for serving your hubby from the Generous Wife blog.)

So in 2014, give your husband and your marriage this gift: Be happy.

This gift of happiness is what I want to give to my husband, to my family, and to the Lord who blesses us with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3).

How can you choose happiness for yourself and your marriage? What fosters a deep sense of joy for you?

14 thoughts on “Give Him the Gift of Happiness

  1. Shelly

    Thank you! Your posts are always full of so much info and fun stuff! And this one really blessed me as I feel there is an “unhappiness” in me..a discontent. I’m really bad with managing our finances even tho my husband has a budget all set up for us. He is SO patient. But I want so badly to do better! To serve him..and bless us both!! We are celebrating 30 years in Feb. We are crazy about each other and still share a deep passionate love. NOW I just need to get my weakness with our finances under control!!! Thanks again..I would love and appreciate your prayers in this area for me. I know God wants my freedom in this area as well! Take care..Happy New Year to us all!❤️❤️❤️❤️

    1. J Post author

      30 years! Congrats. Your comment goes to show that great marriages require continual evaluation to see where we can individually improve. (I think that’s one of God’s points with marriage — to challenge us toward deeper, stronger love.) Many blessings in 2014, Shelly!

  2. Anonymous

    Great post. However, what do you suggest to those who struggle with severe depression? “Being happy”, no matter how great the desire, is easier said than done when you are struggling with mental health or physical health problems.

    1. J Post author

      Personally, I’m in favor of antidepressants in that case. Whatever the original cause, severe depression becomes a physiological struggle, and antidepressants can help alleviate the fog. With improved physical mood, then the person can address whatever other issues are part of the depression — through self-evaluation, counseling, self-help resources, mentoring, etc. Also, physical exercise is important for those struggling with mood. Studies show that regular exercise has an anti-depression effect.

      I agree entirely with you that “be happy” isn’t do-able for those in the deep despair of depression. They need to get help in other ways, but they also need to recognize that staying unhappy isn’t a choice. I’ve known marriages tank because one spouse was continually depressed and refused to get help.

      Thanks for pointing this out! Blessings.

    2. Stacy

      I’ve had what I’d call intermittent but moderate depression for years. A few years back I started taking St John’s Wort, and it has literally been a game-changer. If it wasn’t for that I would probably be on prescription antidepressants (and there is NOTHING wrong with those either). SJW isn’t 100% innocuous, there are things you shouldn’t mix it with and definitely talk to your health care professional, but for me it has been wonderful.

      1. J Post author

        I understand that St. John’s Wort is more commonly used in Europe, and it does show some effectiveness for many. Glad it’s working for you!

        (But yeah, for one thing, I know diabetics need to check with their doctor before using SJW. It can cause problems with insulin, I believe.)

    3. Janice

      To Anonymous, I spent 10-12 years with severe depression. I tried 8 different antidepressants/antianxiety drugs and nothing was working. I knew there was something more wrong, I just couldn’t figure out what. I went to 4 different medical doctors, a psychiatrist, psychologist, a couple of counselors, and even a hypnotherapist. All the pills did was put me in a “care-about-nothing” state. I finally read a book that said that I most likely had a hormone deficiency that caused a wheat allergy and a yeast allergy. So after the last doctor wouldn’t even look at my book and discuss it with me ( and she was a female, not far out of med school,) I decided to “fix” it myself. I stopped eating wheat and yeast and that very night I had to re-lace all of my shoes because they were suddenly too big. By the 4th day, I felt like a skinny teenager that was so full of energy, I felt like doing cartwheels! If you would like more details, let me know, I would consider it a privelege to be able to help someone else in a similar situation. I couldn’t find help even in my own family.

  3. Gaye @CalmHealthySexy

    Thanks so much for mentioning my blog, J.

    I agree that regular exercise is so important for those struggling with depression. The research on the positive effects of exercise on depression is quite strong. Your reader who mentioned depression might be interested in the Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Report (http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/Report/pdf/CommitteeReport.pdf) and other summaries of the research on this topic (e.g., http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3516810/). As you said, it is important for anyone who is struggling with depression to seek medical help and to talk with her doctor about medication and other possible treatments.

  4. Jim

    After I read this I felt this was written for me, so I changed the title to “Give Her the Gift of Happiness”. I then went through and changed all the “her” to “him”, and the “wife” to “husband”, and so on.

    Without trying to explain, 2013 has been a really difficult year for me. I’m going to make an effort to choose the other way for 2014!!

    Ok, going to make my Lovely wife breakfast now!

    Thanks for the article!!

  5. Pingback: 5 Ways to Add Joy to Your Marriage This Year | Calm.Healthy.Sexy.

  6. LG

    I love everything about this post. Becoming a more active adult has helped me tremendously in the happiness department. My husband even commented on how he loves the confidence losing weight and becoming active gave me. 🙂

  7. Pingback: What Does It Take to Be Happy in Marriage? | Hot, Holy & Humorous

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