I recently asked a young lady in the throes of new looooooove to describe to me what she loved about her Prince Charming. I was saddened that her only response was "He makes me happy". Sad because she thought "happy" was enough. Enough to gloss over some serious character issues. Enough to ignore warnings from friends and family. When weighing out all the issues, happy was winning over responsibility and integrity. She thought that lonely was the worst thing imaginable. She thought that happy was enough. But I know better.
Back when I was younger and foolisher, as opposed to now being older and sometimes still foolish, I was under the false impression that being part of a marriage meant never being lonely again. I thought that when you (finally) got married there were no more frustrations in your relationship with The Man. That the, ahem, closeness, would smooth out most of your emotional/relational rough spots. I thought that being married to Brent was going to fill all the empty places in my heart. That being loved by him was going to be enough.... to be happy. Boy was I wrong.
I was wrong because a husband was never intended to make me happy. Being married was not supposed to mean that I would never be lonely again. Never hurt again. Never be frustrated again. Marriage was intended so that I could serve Brent when HE is frustrated, lonely, hurt. So that I could share in HIS joys. So that I can be the hands and feet and voice of Jesus Christ to this man I have pledged my life to. And it's his job/obligation/duty/right to do the same for me. In serving each other, we serve Christ.
Let me tell you right now, there have been plenty of times when one of us was doing most of the serving. MUCHO opportunities arise in marriage where one partner can't, or won't, do their fair share. It is during those times that "for better, for worse, sickness or health, richer or poorer" comes in. Those are not just pretty poetic phrases. Honey pie, better may or may not come, but WORSE is around the corner. Health is not going to last forever, and sickness is not the least bit lovely. Poorer we recognize as being a potential difficulty, but richer can be too. Marriage is designed not to make me more happy, but to make me more holy.
Being married means that I have someone to share parts of my life with. Parts, yes, parts. Some things I can only truly share with God. The things for which there are no words. The times that my soul longs for more than any earthly person could ever fulfill. The hurts that no human touch, word or empathy can heal. He was never intended to. When I finally learned this, muuuuuch later than I wish I had, I freed Brent from unrealistic expectations. And in freeing him, I freed myself.
So while I share my happiest moments with Brent, while our relationship is the most satisfying and rewarding and enjoyable one I have, he does not MAKE me happy. Happy is a fleeting emotion. Quickly here. Quickly gone. No, Brent does not make me happy. But he shares my happy. And my pain. And he blesses me with the treasures of the ages, fidelity, patience, forgiveness, respect. Put "happy" on one side and those on the other.... there is just no comparison. And by the way.... I don't make him happy either.