Get Your Happiness Back

What you have doesn’t make you unhappy. What you want does. ~ Seth Godin

Poor and happy © Sandeep Bhandari |

That statement is brilliant in both its simplicity and deep truth. Seth echoes something I found in Richard Swenson’s book Margin that I am trying to learn to live. If you look at poor countries where people have far, far less, the people tend to be happier. Even in midst horrible circumstances, those who visit from places like the USofA say the locals are more content, more at peace, and just plain happier. I don’t think they are happier because they have less, but because they want less. The less you want, the less frustrated you are about what you want but don’t have. Having less also makes it far easier to be thankful for what you do have.

While Seth and Swenson are applying these principles to things, I think they are just as valid for marriage. When we set the bar too high, we’re going to be disappointed most of the time. When we expect too much from our spouse, how can we not be upset with her on a regular basis?

I’m not saying we should want nothing, or lower the bar to the ground. As with most things, it’s about balance. Learn to appreciate what you have, and choose to want a reasonable list of things beyond that.

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3 Comments on “Get Your Happiness Back

  1. This is an interesting one.  I’m in two minds about the dangers of “setting the bar too high” in our marriages.
    I totally get what you are saying with that statement and in many ways very much agree with it….
    But in other ways, I think many of the problems in our marriages are precisely the opposite, we have set the bar far too low! We have too low expectations of our marriages.
    What I am struggling to work out is what I really think about this… and therefore how I can agree with both the statement; and its opposite; at the same time! I have some vague thoughts, but am struggling to put words to them that make any sense to me.

    Is it about defining and separating what God intended for our marriages to be like, and what things are actually like in the fallen world? Is it about desiring all the fullness that God can bring to our marriages, and keeping the bar far higher than we dare to do… but also being realistic about slow progress in that direction and therefore living with a high degree of realism (and much lower bar) in the short term.
    I’m not sure, but I would love to work it out. I think there might be a better way of explaining what you mean, as I suspect you will be able to apply words to my thoughts far better than I am attempting to here.

    I might also have another go at explaining myself too when I’ve had a chance to think about it some more….

    Thanks for the awesome blog!

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