Happy wife, happy life we are told. And certainly, life is much better when our wives are happy. At the same time, the command is for husbands to love their wives, which is not always the same as making them happy.
Somewhere along the way love has come to mean making our wives happy at all cost.
And ironically, many well-meaning men have actually failed to truly love their wives in their efforts for happiness.
Happiness is an emotion of pleasure or delight – to be pleased with the current moment. When we’re happy, our immediate desires are gratified.
This is a wonderful emotion to cultivate and to help others experience.
However, happiness is not the same as love.
Love cares for the wellbeing of the other – acting in their best interest with both short-term and long-term considerations in mind. In short, love advances the true good of the other.
Happiness often ensues when one is loved well. But many times, this experience comes later.
In the moment, love might not actually feel good. But, in time, the practice of love does produce a life of joy and peace.
For example, it might not make our wife happy to say no to a major purchase she wants. But going into debt simply to appease her is not love. Love sacrifices today for our good tomorrow.
To be sure, every chance we get we should seek ways to bring happiness to our wives – just because.
But never let happiness be a substitute for love.
In the end, we must love our wives even as Christ has loved us. This love is sacrificial, but it is never merely placating for the sake of happiness.
Let happiness come in its own time by loving your wife well.