Should your marraige make you happy?

January 26, 2011

in 1 + 1 = 1, Good Marriage, Series

I have seen suggestions that our marriages are not supposed to be about making us happy. While I fully agree that God uses our marriages as one of the best tools for teaching/changing/growing us up, I also think He intended marriage to be a source of joy, pleasure, and happiness.

Love on the brian  © Sebastian Kaulitzki | Dreamstime.com

Can marriage make us happy? Can that happiness last? Yes and yes! A recent study by Bianca Acevedo, Ph.D., and Arthur Aron, Ph.D., of Stony Brook University, showed some very interesting things about the possibilities in a long term marriage. The researchers studied ten women and seven men, married an average of 21 years, who said they were “intensely in love” with their spouse. Using fMRI, they scanned the brains of these individuals while they viewed images of their spouse, images of a close friend, images of an acquaintance, and someone they barely knew. These scans were then compared to results of a previous experiment that did similar scans on the same number of men and women who said they had “fallen madly in love” during the preceding year.

The results of the two studies were very similar. Dr. Aron said, “We found many very clear similarities between those who were in love long term and those who had just fallen madly in love.” These similarities were in an area of the brain associated with reward and motivation. Dr. Acevedo said that the area “showed greater activation for those in the long-term couple group who scored especially high on romantic love scales and a closeness scale based on questionnaires.” This means the brain scans backed up the more subjective feelings of the individuals being scanned.

Image Credit: © Sebastian Kaulitzki | Dreamstime.com

3 comments
Take Two
Take Two

I've heard the line about marriage being about holyness not happiness alot. I'd like to ask people who say that what they think happiness is. They aren't the same thing but wouldn't you think holy people would be happy? What's the point of being holy and misserable. Of course you can't get happiness by trying to reach it, you just become a hedonist. Of course, being a sado masochist isn't any better and may be worse. Why don't we just admit that unhappy married people have something severly wrong with themselves or their spouse that needs to be fixed. Seems simple enough.

The Generous Husband
The Generous Husband

@DC3 - I mostly agree with you. If it's the goal, we will probably make a mess of things. But I think it is one of the goals God has in marriage, and as such I think we can expect, and should teach, that a good marriage brings happiness.

DC3
DC3

This is all fine and good, and I'm very happy in my marriage. However, the point is that the ultimate point of marriage isn't about becoming happy. Maybe the point of marriage is to make us more holy. Happiness is a by-product. As we get closer to becoming who Jesus intends us to be, -of course- we become more happy. But if our only goal is our selfish happiness, we're missing it.

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