What Does It Take To Have A Happy Marriage?

by Greg S. Baker , Christian Examiner Contributor |

Is there some magic formula for a happy marriage? Do you have to be talented, intelligent, well spoken, successful, or is it merely increasing your love for your spouse? Do you need a special skill set? Do you have what it takes to have a happy marriage?

In my job as a pastor and counselor, I deal with many unhappy marriages. On average, the husband is usually reluctant to admit that he needs help while the wife is trying to drag him into my office. The male ego takes a blow when he must admit that he has a problem, that there might be something that he can't handle or hasn't the ability to deal with.

But this thinking is all wrong! There is no particular skill set one must have in order to have a happy marriage. It's not about money, talent, or intelligence. A happy marriage does not depend upon these things.

EVERYONE CAN HAVE A HAPPY MARRIAGE

I believe that everyone is capable of having a happy marriage. In fact, in the ten years I've counseled and dealt with marriages, I have yet to see one that doesn't have the potential to be happy. It is not a lack of skills, talent, or intelligence that is causing your marriage problems. It may not even be a lack of love.

The problem is that you may not have the necessary tools or knowledge to build a happy marriage. Everyone is capable! It is merely a lack of tools and knowledge. Give a couple the right knowledge and tools, and they can fix most of the issues in their marriage.

For example, let's take a car that needs the engine overhauled. If you have neither the tools nor the knowledge, you personally can't fix it. And if you have all the tools, but not the knowledge, you still can't fix it. If you have the knowledge and only a screwdriver, you won't be able to overhaul the engine. It takes both.

As a counselor and pastor, I try to give people both the knowledge of how a happy marriage is supposed to be and the tools to achieve it. I don't think that I can actually fix anyone's marriage. I just provide the means for them to do it themselves.

You're capable, but you might just be lacking in some tools and knowledge.

GO TO A MARRIAGE COUNSELOR

Naturally I'm a bit biased in this area. And I prefer a Christian counselor over a secular one. The secular philosophy on a happy marriage is different than a Christian's. That being said, you ought to choose someone that both you and your spouse can trust and allow them to give you the right tools and knowledge.

Don't think that you'll never need advice or help. When you have an emotional stake in a marriage problem you'll not have the aptitude to see the problem clearly. It takes someone who doesn't have an emotional stake in it to give you the right perspective and direction.

Don't fear advice! The Bible teaches us that in the multitude of counselors there is safety.

Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety. - Proverbs 11:14.

There is no shame in it and you don't have to feel inadequate or incapable. After all, if you had the right knowledge and tools, you could fix the problem yourself.

STUDY MARRIAGE

At some point, you must believe that marriage is important enough to study. I study marriage, I read books, I listen to sermons on it, I listen to lectures on it, I observe, and I ask questions. I want all the resources at my disposal as possible to build my marriage.

The common mistake that most couples make is when things are going good. It is here that they relax, drop their guard, and begin to ignore the marriage. Be on a constant hunt to gain knowledge and tools.

Knowledge brings understanding and understanding brings wisdom. You don't have to be intelligent to get this. In fact, most people confuse knowledge for intelligence. If you want wisdom in your marriage, it starts with knowledge.

– Greg S. Baker pastored a church for thirteen years. He now works as the single's pastor at a local church while writing books to help expand the Kingdom of God within the kingdom of man. His books cover topics that include Christian living, manhood, and the end times. He also writes Christian fiction, believing that fiction is a major avenue for sharing the truth of God's Word. To learn more about Greg and his work, visit http://thedivineingredient.com.