Marriage is not about getting out of your comfort zone to make your spouse happy. It is about becoming one flesh, and that alone can be uncomfortable for both. Happiness is about self-fulfillment, and when one spouse spends time and energy on happiness, it can create a void in the relationship. What about when both spouses strive for the happiness of the other, it may seem to be the right motive, but something will still be missing. Happiness is subjective and is not a proper motivator for a marriage.

But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” – Mark 10:6-9

The act of “becoming one flesh” is something that happens to the couple through submission to God and each other. When we submit to God, the process of “one flesh” begins and can be a fun and incredible journey. Love is the sole motivator for a healthy marriage and happiness can simply be a periodic byproduct of this love. Love is action-based and not an emotional response or feeling like happiness is. One of the most dangerous questions one could ask a married man or woman is, “are you really happy?” and ironically it is a common question asked when infidelity is being presented. Watch any Lifetime movie with an affair in the plot and that question is bound to be asked. When answered honestly, any spouse can admit at some point in their marriage that they are not happy.

Love always gives while lust always takes. One spouse cannot give happiness to the other, but they can give love. Becoming one flesh comes when we lay our lives down for the other, for example, giving up our preferences for the sake of the one we love. There is no way to cover the many ways we allow the “becoming one flesh” process, but specifically, couples should communicate their spiritual journey with Christ.

As a couple grows spiritually as individuals, the key is to share the details with each other. As communication of spiritual growth, decline or battles become more common in the marriage, the stronger the bond between the couple grows stronger. You literally build spiritual character together. For my wife and I, we each grew up in Christian homes and believed the same things about God. The spiritual maturity we each possessed was different, our moral compasses slightly different and our ability to be tested spiritually were different. Why? We each grew up under different circumstances, and so our marriage started with varying differences that could either pull us together or drift us apart. We chose to be submitted to God and each other, and we grew together, our becoming one flesh helped us build spiritual maturity together that no man can separate. Your spiritual growth is both individual and plural. I am not suggesting an unhealthy co-dependancy, but I am suggesting fortifying marriages with spiritual growth that both husband and wife own together with Christ at the center.