Why “Happy Wife, Happy Life” Will Make You and Your Wife Miserable

by Paul Tautges | March 30, 2017 1:05 am

Comedian Jeff Allen has recently capitalized on a humorous and catchy little modern proverb: “Happy wife, happy life.” His comedy is compelling, and his style engaging, but, like many catchphrases in Christian pop culture, his seemingly harmless comedy actually communicates falsehood. The truth is, the idea of “Happy wife, happy life” is not found in the Scriptures, and pursuing this advice will make both you and your wife miserable. Here are three biblical reasons.

  1. Neither you nor your wife knows what will make you happy. The assumption behind, “Happy wife, happy life” is that your wife knows what she wants, and your life would be happier if you would just give her what she says she wants. Jeremiah 17:9 teaches us that no one knows their own heart and, if there is one thing we do know, it is that the heart can easily be deceived. Eve got what she eventually wanted in the Garden of Eden, presumably while Adam was not far away. Adam was the original poster boy for “Happy wife, happy life,” and when Eve got what she eventually came to believe would make her happy, no one was laughing.
  1. Even if you give your wife what she says she wants, you cannot make her happy. We all come to realize that a new job, a new truck, a remodeled house or 2.4 healthy kids cannot make us happy. James teaches us that we do not even realize that we often ask wrongly for things that we intend to spend “on our own passions” (James 4:3). There is no more miserable person than one who receives the thing they set out to get only to find that cannot satisfy the longings of their heart. Conversely, the one who is pursuing Christ with all her heart can be content and satisfied even while enduring the most difficult of circumstances. Marriage cannot make one happy and, therefore, a spouse cannot make the other happy, either.
  1. You were not designed to make her happy. The Scriptures do not instruct a man to make his wife happy. Every person is made in the image of God and, therefore, a wife finds her ultimate meaning, worth and, yes, happiness, in him alone. Your wife was made to be complete in God. She will be most happy when she counts everything a loss compared to the “surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:8). When a husband gets in-between his wife and God he can easily become an idol. She may appeal to you, require of you, and even manipulate you. But life will eventually deliver circumstances which you cannot control or overcome. You will learn that God is God, and that husbands make lousy gods. She will find that her soul will be satisfied (made happy!) with nothing less than God himself.

So, what’s a husband to do?  Here are three actions for husbands who love Jesus:

Setting out to make your wife happy will not make your life happy. If this becomes your goal, you will experience failure, frustration and a string of fights. But if you will faithfully pursue Christ Jesus with all your heart and mind, you will begin to deliver to your wife what she really longs for, a godly husband.

[Today’s guest post is written by Jon MacDonald, Pastor of Family Life/Discipleship at Sheboygan Evangelical Free Church[1] in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.]

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  1. Sheboygan Evangelical Free Church: http://www.e-free-family.com/
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