What makes a happy couple?
Is it chemistry? Is it shared values? Is it intimacy? Something else?
In life and ministry I’ve met many happy couples. I’ve also met even more couples who were clearly not happy. Sometimes the result was a breakup or divorce. Other times the result was years of co-existing without very much joy.
When I heard Andy Stanley, lead Pastor of North Point Community Church, was starting a teaching series called “What Happy Couples Know,” I knew I had to listen. In this series he shares several compelling ingredients to having a successful relationship.
Whether you’re a Christian or not, this is for you.
Whether you’re currently single and hoping for a happy marriage someday or you’ve been married a long time and long to restore some happiness, this is for you.
All of us have hopes, dreams, and desires in life. These can be relational, occupational, financial, emotion, physical, or spiritual.
For example, you may aspire to have 4 children someday, marry someone who stays home with the kids and takes care of the house, or retire to a warmer climate at a young age.
In and of themselves, there is nothing wrong with these desires. However, friction develops in a relationship when we expect our partners to fulfill these desires.
And when both people in a relationship expect their partner to fulfill their hopes and dreams in life, everyone loses. Expectations create a debt-to-debtor relationship in which we think our partner owes us. Love does not do well in an environment of expectations.
Happy couples know this and resist the urge to turn their hopes, dreams, and desires into expectations.
Happy couples know that their partner doesn’t owe them anything. In fact, happy couples go a step further and believe that they owe their partner everything.
Why is that?
Simple- because of Jesus.
In the New Testament Jesus give us this command: “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34)
How did Jesus love?
He gave everything of himself on our behalf and expected nothing in return. Even though we did nothing to deserve it, Jesus gave all of himself.
Happy couples not only know that their partners own them nothing, they also believe they owe their partner everything.
Happy couples know that their relationship will thrive when they enter into a submission competition.
The apostle Paul gives us these relational instructions in his letter to the church in Ephesus:
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord… Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5: 21-22, 25).”
Although this passage has been abused over the years, the intent is to encourage all people to submit to one another. This is especially true as it relates to dating and marriage relationships.
Can you imagine what would happen to your current or future relationship if both you and your partner were completely devoted to each other’s hopes, dreams, and desires?
Can you imagine what would happen if both of you raced, not to be first, but to be last?
Would you be willing to give it a try? 🙂
Happy couples know that healthy relationships involve a submission competition.
To wrap up, I’d love for you to evaluate your current dating or marriage relationship.
What hopes, dreams, and desires have you brought into your relationship? Are you expecting your partner to fulfill these?
On top of this, I’d love for you to ask a very dangerous question to your partner- What are YOUR hopes, dreams, and desires?
October 24, 2017
Personal Development Spiritual Growth