May 1, 2023 @ 8:00 AM

You have heard the old adage, “happy wife, happy life.” I’ve heard it too and have used it over the years; but is it true? Will a happy wife produce a happy life? After years of observing marriages and counseling couples, my answer is a resounding NO! Why do I say that and why is it not the case?

Truly happy marriages require two happy partners not simply one. Both husband and wife need to be happy. Power in the relationship is evenly divided. This type of relationship is often termed “complementarian” because both partners love, respect, and honor each other, and roles in the relationship are clearly defined. Major decisions are discussed, prayed over, and both parties are “on the same page” before the husband takes action to implement the decision. The happiness measure of a marriage is only as high as the least happy individual in it.

If only the wife is happy, she has been ceded too much power and control by her husband. Perhaps she is happy because she is getting her way. Her husband is passive in the relationship and has abdicated his leadership role as a husband to “keep the peace.” If happiness comes at his expense that is not a happy marriage. This type of marriage is simply a life without conflict. If conflict is avoided rather than resolved, it will re-occur, and the relationship will be either strained or superficial. The goal is agreement and/or compromise. It should not always be the same person “giving in.”

What’s a better saying to live by as a couple? How about “happy spouse, happy house?” If both spouses are happy their house (and those in it) will be happy. What’s needed to make that happen? Husbands must begin to assert and lead and not fear conflict. You cannot control your wife’s emotions. She is entitled to her emotional response to you. Your responsibility is to honestly speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).

Wives need to help their husbands learn to be decisive and support their decisions. As I wrote above, those decisions are made after mutual discussion and prayer. Will there ever be disagreement? Yes, there will occasionally be. Mutual input and prayer together on a major decision protects from blame-casting and “second guessing.”

Helping you to be a happy spouse so you can have a happy house,