Tag Archive | happiness

Q&A: How Can I Be a Happier Person?

If happiness eludes you, try practicing these six principles and watch your joy multiply...I received the following message on my “Love Your Husband” Facebook page this week:

I just came across your write up on how to ruin your marriage. I have to say that I am guilty on all counts. However I am not a happy woman and I don’t feel competent enough to be a career woman, a mother, and a wife. I would love to be a very happy person again, if and when you get this message please could you help me out with scriptures that will help me. I desperately need to be a better wife and mother. Thank you and God bless you and your family.

I wanted to respond quickly, so I searched for things I’d already written that might address this reader’s question. I’ve written one post on “Cultivating Contentment,” another on “Creating a Happy Home,” and yet another called “Don’t Let Anything Steal your Joy.”

They are all great articles that address different aspects of this topic, but when it comes to listing specific Scriptures that might help an unhappy person find her way out of the pit, I came up empty.

It’s not that such verses don’t exist — they do! It’s only that I’ve never taken time to create a list of them. Until now.

I know lots of people struggle with being happy, joyful, and content. If you are one of them, I pray these thoughts and verses will help you, as well:

  1. Happiness starts with God.
  2. I’m sure non-believers have happy moments, but I have never met anybody with a deep, abiding sense of joy who does not credit it to a strong, personal relationship with the Creator. God made us, He made our emotions, He gave us the capacity to feel happiness, and He has provided the means by which we can experience happiness, both here on earth and throughout eternity:

    • “The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.” (Psalm 28:7, NLT)
    • “For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” (Zephaniah 3:17, NLT)
    • “Then my soul will rejoice in the LORD and delight in his salvation.” (Psalm 35:9, NIV)
    • “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” (John 10:10, NLT)

  3. Happiness springs from gratitude.
  4. More often than not, unhappy people are ungrateful people, and vice versa. They focus on what they don’t have instead of being thankful for what they do have. You cannot feel truly grateful and completely miserable at the same time, so rather than enumerating your troubles, practice counting your blessings instead. Offer up a prayer of thanksgiving for each one. Buy a stack of cards and write notes of thanks to people who have helped you along the way. Say thank you in person to those who do kind things for you. Put to death any notions of entitlement and accept every new grace with unmitigated appreciation and delight.

    • “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
    • “…be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 18-20, NIV)
    • “O come, let us sing for joy to the LORD, Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.” (Psalm 95:1-2, NASB)
    • “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations.” (Psalm 100:4-5, NASB)

  5. Happiness sees the good.
  6. Focus on the positive. Look on the bright side. Search for the silver lining. As Martha Washington once observed, “The greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition.” Resolve to maintain a cheerful disposition in whatever circumstance you find yourself.

    • “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8, KJV)
    • “For you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth).” (Ephesians 5:8-9, NASB)
    • “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23, NASB)
    • “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8, NLT)

  7. Happiness says no to grudges.
  8. Nothing edges happiness out of a heart faster than bitterness. The two cannot co-exist. Whether for major offenses or minor irritations, be quick to extend forgiveness to those who have wronged you. Do not harbor grudges or give place to resentment — doing so will steal your joy.

    • “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (Mark 11:25, NIV)
    • “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32, NASB)
    • “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” (Colossians 3:12-14, NASB
    • “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” (Matthew 6:14-15, NASB)

  9. Happiness serves others gladly.
  10. Deep, abiding joy does not focus on what others can do for me, but on what I can do for others. As a wife and mother, you have built-in others to think about. Ask God to help you tend to their needs with a glad and grateful heart. Recognize that relationships take work, and do it heartily, knowing that God loves a cheerful giver.

    • Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…” (Colossians 3:23, NIV)
    • “…serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” (Galatians 5:13-14, NIV)
    • “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10, NIV)
    • Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing.” (Psalm 100:2, NASB)

  11. Happiness strives toward the goal.
  12. Keep an eternal perspective. Don’t let doubts or discouragements cloud your perception. Don’t let anything distract you from tending to the things that really matter most…

    • “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” (Galatians 6:9-10, NASB)
    • “…one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14, NASB)
    • Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12, NIV)
    • “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” (1 Corintians 9:24-27, NASB)

What more happiness out of life? These are the principles you’ll need to practice to find it, along with Scriptures to back them up.

I consider myself an extremely happy person, and these are my secrets to maintaining a joyful outlook. If you can think of other ideas that might help, please share them in the comment section below.

The State of a Union

How grows your marriage? The  State of a UnionWhen my husband and I built our house ten years ago, we planted two ginkgo trees on either side of our front yard. The trees looked identical the day we put them in the ground, but since that time one has flourished and the other has floundered.

The tree on the west side of our house gets plenty of sunshine. It is planted on level ground, not susceptible to erosion. Tall and straight, it has more than quadrupled in size. Its leaves are a deep green, its bark smooth, and its limbs symmetrical. Even when my husband accidentally backed into the tree with his truck and gashed the trunk, it managed to survive.

The tree in the east yard has not fared so well.

It was planted on a slope, where water runs off instead of soaking in. Surrounded by larger trees, it stands in shade most of the day. Gophers keep digging tunnels through its struggling root system. It has served as “base” for far too many games of tag and shows visible signs of wear from our little ones whipping the tree back and forth as if it were a stick horse.

Consequently, the trunk is crooked and spindly. Its uppermost branches were broken off at some point, so the tree is severely stunted — barely eight feet tall, as compared to its 45-ft brother. My husband has been sorely tempted to just chop it down and plant another in its place.

He nearly acted on that impulse several springs ago, but I spotted him just in time with the axe in hand and begged for mercy on behalf of the runt. Doug relented, and I did my best to nurture the scrawny thing back to health (a little staking and strategic pruning worked wonders for its appearance).

It’s important to note that my axe-wielding husband is not responsible for this tree’s present sorry state. He was simply responding to the damage already done by its other enemies — the gophers, erosion, and overly rambunctious children.

If I wanted to fault somebody for the tree’s miserable appearance, I should fault myself for not tending to it more faithfully, for not vigilantly protecting it from its various assailants.

No, Doug isn’t to blame, nor does he have anything against ginkgo trees in general. He has no desire to fell the heartier specimen, and although he considers this particular ginkgo an eyesore, he is perfectly willing to replace it with a new one. The presence of the healthy, robust ginkgo in the west yard — and the knowledge that there are countless others like it — reassures him that it is possible to raise one successfully.

But what if the west tree were just as sickly and stunted as the east? What if every ginkgo tree Doug had ever encountered were uniformly puny and pathetic? Wouldn’t it stand to reason that he might be less willing to take a chance growing one himself? That he might decide to plant something entirely different? At least he wouldn’t be pinning his hopes on something with a high failure rate. Would you buy a tree that had, say, less than a fifty percent chance of surviving?

I think the reason some groups are seeking to “redefine marriage” these days is that so many “traditional marriages” — at least the marriages they’ve personally observed or experienced — seem sickly and unappealing.

Although I disagree with their response, I do not consider these groups the enemy. They didn’t cause the problems; they are merely reacting to them.

The damage was done by a much subtler Adversary. Like the gopher that tunneled under my ginkgo, this Enemy attacked marriage at the root, digging away at its foundation, gradually shifting our focus away from God and onto ourselves.

God’s design for marriage — that we mirror the love of Christ and raise children for His glory — no longer seems to be our primary concern. Finding happiness and personal fulfillment is the new end goal.

As Danielle Crittenden observes in What Our Mothers Didn’t Tell Us, “We may pledge to love each other until death do us part — but we blanch at the first hint of sacrifice.”

How many couples have I heard rationalize their divorce by saying “we’re just not happy together anymore”? I’ve lost count.

More likely than not, these men and women had good intentions of making each other happy (or at least of making themselves happy) when they first married, but if happiness is all they sought, it makes sense they’d be ready to throw in the towel when happiness is not forthcoming.

But should they call it quits? Is unhappiness really a sufficient reason to divorce?

Not according to a report released by the Institute for American Values. Their studies found that two-thirds of couples who were unhappy in their marriages, but stuck it out anyway, considered themselves “happily married” just five years later. In fact, “the most unhappy marriages reported the most dramatic turnarounds. Among those who rated their marriages as very unhappy, almost eight out of ten who avoided divorce were happily married five years later.”

Even so, many couples don’t persevere long enough to discover this fact. And that’s too bad.
It’s bad for their families, but it’s also bad for society as a whole. Strong and stable families make for a strong and stable nation.

Couples need to understand that happiness springs from commitment. Not the other way around. Allowing something as volatile as happiness to determine whether you stay married or not is a sure way to destroy any chance of building a love that endures.

We must stop treating happiness as if it were a destination we have to trample upon others to reach. In reality, the route to true happiness is through selfless, sacrificial love.

Deep, abiding joy is a disposition that is naturally cultivated as we seek to live for God’s glory. That, after all, is the chief end of man: To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

It’s the purpose for which we were created in the first place, and we’ll never find lasting, genuine happiness, in marriage or in any other endeavor, so long as we neglect it.


Love Your Husband/ Love YourselfThis post has been adapted from my book, Love Your Husband/Love Yourself: Embracing God’s Purpose for Passion in Marriage. Packed with Bibilcal wisdom, scientific studies, and humorous anecdotes, it is a must-read for any wife serious about improving her marriage.

Make Your Valentine’s Day

As a wife, you have the ability to make your Valentine’s day, every day of the year, and you don’t even need flowers, chocolates, or greeting cards to do it. Just follow these three simple steps:



And that about sums it up. No further explanation required.