Have you ever heard the phrase ‘Happy Wife, Happy Life’. I first heard it a few years ago. The thought behind the saying is this: If a man makes his wife happy, he will live a happy life.
It sounds good and sounds like words of wisdom, but is it? Is it true that if your woman is happy, you will live a happy life?
God knew this question would come up, so he helped us answer it ahead of time in the biblical story of Adam and Eve. As the biblical story goes, Adam and Eve (the first people on earth) lived with God and each other in perfect love and harmony. Then one day, Eve speaks to a serpent who convinces her to eat a forbidden fruit.
When Eve see’s the fruit, her eyes light up and she licks her lips. She wants the fruit and tells Adam. Though Adam knows that they shouldn’t eat the fruit, he says nothing to stop her. (He was probably thinking ‘Happy Wife, Happy Life’). He watches as she eats the fruit. He see’s her eyes light up. He see’s that she is having a pleasurable experience. So he does what he knows he shouldn’t do. He eats the fruit.
A minute later, everything changed. All of a sudden they start feeling emotions they had never felt before. They feel ashamed. They feel afraid of God. They start blaming each other. At this point, they realize they have made a huge mistake. At this point, Adam probably thinks to himself: I tried to make my wife happy, but in the process I have made our lives worse.
Aha moment: ‘Happy Wife, Happy Life’ is true only when what makes your wife happy pleases God.
If Adam had asked his wife a few more questions, he would have realized why she wanted to eat the fruit. She desired to eat the fruit to ease her fear and insecurity about her identity.
Aha moment: If your wife is filled with fears and insecurities about her identity in God, don’t be surprised if what she tells you makes her happy makes your life miserable.
My friend John found this aha-moment out the hard way. The owner of a furniture shop, he knew that a couple’s buying decision normally hinged on the woman’s choice. Therefore, he made sure he paid just a little bit more attention to the women who visited the store compared to the men. He called it good business judgement. His new wife called it behavior that dishonored her.
Being previously married to a man who cheated on her, she was filled with fear and insecurities about men’s ability in general to be faithful. To feel secure, she wanted John to pay very little attention to the women who came into the store. Every time he smiled at a woman in the store, she took it as he being attracted to her. Furthermore, she did not want him to close the door to his office (which was in the middle of a busy store) if he was in there with a female employee.
Going with ‘Happy Wife, Happy Life’, he complied to her requests. The result is that his business suffered tremendously. To keep things afloat, he had to cut staff — this meant he kept customers waiting. Wanting to fill the gap in employees, he had to work more hours. This decision made her unhappy because he could no longer meet her love language (quality time). Long story short, he became unhappy because he felt he was failing as a man — he couldn’t please his wife and he wasn’t doing well in his work. He ended up loosing his business and she ended up leaving him. Alas, he ended up anti-depressants.
Aha moment: If you are with a woman who is covering her fears and insecurities with ungodly or unreasonable requests, the worst thing you can do it play along without addressing the root issues.
What should Adam and John have done differently? Two things. First, they should have said no, knowing that though their wives would be temporarily unhappy, it would lead to a happy life in the long-run. Second, they should have taken up the mantle of spiritual leadership — pointing their wives to God to work through their root issues.
This second point is especially important because no human can make another human completely and permanently happy. Only we can make ourselves happy. And here is how we make ourselves happy…by turning to God
Happy is he whose God is the Lord — Psalm 144:15b
Aha moment: We are responsible for our own happiness. If your wife is unhappy, it is likely because she stopped looking to God for happiness and is now looking to you or something for happiness. Your job is to lead her back to the source of happiness.