Shocking News For Unhappy Marrieds

January 12, 2017

Roger Campbell

Roger Campbell

A friend of mine had filed for a divorce, intending to end more than twenty years of marriage. His two teenage children were devastated, but their emotional distress wasn’t enough to cause him to change course. He said he wanted a divorce because he wasn’t happy. Then I shocked him. “What does your happiness have to do with this?” I asked.

Not that husbands and wives shouldn’t be happy. On the contrary, marriage holds immense potential for happiness. But I’ve been unable to find anything in traditional wedding vows or the Bible that allows for the breakup of a marriage because either party is unhappy. This mysterious making of two people one calls for helping, holding, loving, cherishing, submitting, and encouraging. In other words, each one is to be living for the benefit of the other. That’s what love is all about. Selfishness has no place in a marriage. Self denial does.

The question for each husband and wife should not be: “Am I happy?” but “Is my wife or husband happy?” Both the Bible and most marriage vows make breaking up hard to do, even foreseeing tough times that may be ahead: “for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health”; not “until I’m not happy anymore.” The divorce explosion has caused such severe social problems that a number of states are taking a second look at their relaxed, no-fault divorce laws. Absentee fathers chasing their own happiness have driven thousands of women and children into poverty and robbed the most innocent victims (the children) of the stability that both parents bring to growing up years. Sometimes wives are on the chase and in either case the futures and feelings of the remaining spouse and the children are sacrificed on the happiness altar of the self-centered one.

The Bible takes a high view of marriage, comparing it to the mystical union between Christ and all believers. Husbands and wives are intended to experience the love bond that our Lord has with every person of faith, a love that is enduring, forgiving, sacrificial, giving and expressed often. This kind of love is ever seeking the happiness of others in the family, not its own. When this is true, the law of sowing and reaping becomes operative in our homes. In giving we receive. In making the will of God and the happiness of loved ones our priorities, we gain. Insisting on looking out for number one, we lose.

In worshiping God with our families and laboring to provide for them we reach the end of our search. What we’ve been looking for isn’t to be found by breaking free from family responsibilities to pursue some romantic dream with another person, but in selflessly carrying out our obligations to those we’ve pledged to love.
In the path of duty, we stumble onto happiness.

Roger Campbell was an author, a broadcaster and columnist who was a pastor for 22 years. Contact us at

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